Even For Smart Sprinklers, Security Matters

The Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow in popularity: A recent International Data Corporation (IDC) study projects there will be 41.6 billion IoT devices by 2025, up from 7 billion in 2018. This growth is the result of several factors, including low silicon costs and advances in miniaturization.

Despite IoT’s popularity, however, security and privacy issues continue to make headlines. A popular white-label GPS tracker sold by more than a dozen companies was found to have a number of security flaws earlier this year, while a new strain of Mirai malware specifically targeting IoT devices was recently discovered.

In the July Intelligence of Things Tracker™, PYMNTS explores the latest news in IoT, including partnerships, innovations, security risks, and oversight from world governments.

Developments From Around The IoT World

IoT is currently making waves in the cruise line industry, with Carnival Cruises introducing the Ocean Medallion wearable. The Medallion provides a range of personalized services onboard Carnival vessels and is tracked by 4,000 digital interaction points throughout the ships’ deck and interior.

A new virus called Silex is unfortunately wreaking havoc on IoT-enabled devices, bricking smart products by eliminating their firewalls, destroying their storage and removing their network configurations. Industry experts have determined that the malware specifically targets devices that still use default passwords, which makes for a significant fraction of the 26 billion IoT gadgets in use worldwide. These experts recommend that IoT users change default passwords on their devices as soon as possible, ideally right after activating them.

Such threats have many wondering if legislation can help regulate the IoT ecosystem as another bill makes its way through Congress. The Internet of Things Readiness Act, introduced by representatives John Katko (NY) and Suzan DelBene (WA), directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to determine if there is enough spectrum to handle the predicted volume of IoT devices to be in use in the near future. Similar laws have already been enacted to guard against a catastrophic lack of spectrum in France, the Netherlands and South Korea.

For more on these and other IoT news items, download this month’s Tracker.

How Hydrawise Keeps Hackers Off Its Lawn

An IoT-connected irrigation controller might seem an unlikely target for a hacker, but it’s not the victim’s gardening habits the bad actor is after. Seemingly innocuous devices like these are instead used as entry points to gain access to entire smart home networks, making them equally important to secure. For this month’s feature story, PYMNTS spoke with Anthony Long of smart irrigation controller Hydrawise, on how the controller keeps the rest of the smart home network safe.

Find the rest of our feature story in the July IoT Tracker.

About the Tracker

The monthly Intelligence of Things Tracker™ highlights the companies that are leading the way in all aspects of IoT, including data, home, infrastructure, mobile, retail, transportation and wearable applications, among others. It tracks the latest industry developments, concerns, rollouts and regulations, as well as the top players making waves in an increasingly digital space.