Intel Security highlights vulnerabilities of a ‘smart future’

Intel Security
Raj Samani, Intel Security

At Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2017, connected cars, the future of smart homes and, of course, the newest handsets are top of the agenda. Intel Security’s latest findings show consumers are being tempted by the efficiency and entertainment of such connected devices, revealing the average person now spends 38 percent of their time at home online.

Despite leading increasingly connected lifestyles, 41 percent of respondents said they have no idea how to check if their connected devices have ever been compromised, and a further 32 percent said they were unsure how to check if devices had been breached. People not only need to understand the security risks associated with laptops and tablets, but also with connected devices such as smart TVs, speakers and connected cars, and manufacturers must take responsibility for ensuring security is built in to the foundations of new products.

As more connected devices are brought into the home, a new partnership between Humax, Intel and Intel Security will ensure robust connectivity and security is embedded into Humax’s Quantum T9 router. McAfee Secure Home Platform will provide a built-in layer of security that automatically protects internet-connected devices on a user’s home network from a variety of threats. This offers people a flexible way to manage and secure their connected devices in the home, apply parental controls, and receive alerts about potential threats in real-time.

“Our recent research showed that more than three quarters of parents (80 percent) are concerned about their children interacting with a social predator or cybercriminal online,” said Raj Samani, EMEA CTO, Intel Security. “Yet 34 percent of parents do not keep track of their children’s internet usage, and 35 percent say that they would monitor their children’s online activity if there was an easier way of doing it.

“Partnering with Humax will further help us to empower parents to actively manage how their families interact with connected devices in the home and protect them from potential risks. As we move towards the 5G smart and connected home of the future, internet usage within the home and the levels of data created will only increase, as will our reliance on apps to control our home environment. With this, we must ensure the appropriate security is installed in every touchpoint, from the network to the router to the devices themselves, as well as the apps and software controlling them,” said Samani.

It’s not just apps live in app stores that represent a risk. Telemetry data collected by McAfee Labs shows that more than 500,000 devices still have dead apps installed and are actively used. With more than 2 million apps in each of the major app stores, malicious apps find ways through the store curators initial quality-control process.

In the past year, more than 4,000 apps were removed from Google Play, without notification to users. These users and the organisations they work for are still exposed to any vulnerabilities, privacy risks, or malware contained in these dead apps.

One recent example is a password stealer, distributed on Google Play as a variety of utilities and tools to acquire Instagram followers or analyse usage. The malware leads the user to a phishing website with a simple design that makes it difficult to distinguish between the legitimate and the fake, easily capturing users’ credentials.

“To avoid losing personal data to dead apps, consumers need to pay close attention to the apps they’ve downloaded and research the developer and reviews about any app before installing it,” comments Raj Samani. “They should also look for a security tool that can identify apps which are no longer on the store and, even better, can provide some information on why they were removed.”

Intel Security’s top tips for protecting your personal data:

  • Lock down your devices.
  • Keep your devices updated.
  • Take control of your home network.
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