Category Archives: Security

Is blockchain an answer for Smart Home and IoT security?

by Chris Petersen, IMS

Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you keep hearing about the concept and new technology of “blockchain”. Typically blockchain is associated with the trending topic of “bitcoin” and digital currency.   A lot of people have been talking about blockchain, but exactly what is it?   Why is it revolutionary?

More importantly what does blockchain offer in terms of security that might address the vulnerability of Smart Home and the billions of IoT devices that will permeate our lives?   Confused? You are certainly not alone.   Blockchain is more than a buzzword for millennials and something that we need to better understand at least a basic level. Continue reading

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Filed under IoT, Security, Uncategorized

WannaCry Ransomware Outbreak Drives Surge in Security Software Sales

It’s that time again when hundreds of exhibitors showcase the most relevant IT security solutions and discuss the issues that keep businesses awake at night at this week’s Infosecurity Europe show in London. Ransomware, IoT, Business Email Compromise, these are just some of the hot topics being discussed at the annual event.

It’s been over three weeks since WannaCry caused widespread chaos as it wormed its way through servers and PCs across the planet. The threat itself has at this stage largely been contained, but now the dust has settled on one of the highest profile malware campaigns in recent memory, we thought it would be useful to examine whether there’s been any impact on channel sales.

The 4000% year over year increase in Week 20 security sales is a strong indicator that organisations have indeed been prompted by the ransomware outbreak to invest in cybersecurity tools.

A global incident
Cyber attack campaigns don’t come much bigger than WannaCry. The exact scale of the incident is still not fully known, but after less than two days the ransomware had infected over 200,000 users and organisations across 150 countries, according to Europol. In fact, the total number of infections could now be in the millions, according to reports. It featured two NSA exploits, dubbed DoublePulsar and EternalBlue, which had been published online by a group known as the Shadow Brokers. It’s widely believed that another group then took these and repackaged them so that, once on a target network, the malware searched worm-like for other machines to infect, both inside that network and externally.

The speed and scale with which WannaCry spread raises some interesting questions about the state of security in many organisations. For one thing, it exploited a known Windows vulnerability, patched weeks earlier by Microsoft after the NSA informed the company. That tells us many organisations and consumers fail to follow best practice security by keeping their systems up-to-date at all times.

It also highlighted the catastrophic real-world impact that malicious code can have. Scores of NHS organisations were affected and had to shut down key IT systems, causing the cancellation of operations, chemotherapy sessions and other patient appointments. For companies, a similar outcome will have led to lost productivity and service outages, impacting the bottom line and brand reputation.

Prioritising security
It’s perhaps not surprising, therefore, that CONTEXT data tells us the WannaCry outbreak generated a significant rise in cybersecurity channel sales. We tracked license sales for two categories: Security Suites and Mail Security. The combined figures reveal that sales increased by 4,090 times from week 20 in 2016 to week 20 in 2017. More telling still is the fact that 1.2 million units were sold in the weeks post-WannaCry, compared to a normal run-rate of 20-50,000 units per week.

Cybersecurity specialists need to tread a fine line when engaging with prospective customers, between educating the market and straying into the territory of over-hyping threats to sell products. Yet the uptick in sales following WannaCry shows us that such incidents can certainly focus the minds of IT buyers, and move certain purchases up the priority list.

by MK

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Filed under Enterprise IT, Security, Uncategorized

The Smart Home Market in France has potential if retailers take the jump

Last week we held an event in Paris to present the results of our latest survey on the Smart Home. Journalists, key retailers and vendors were present to hear about the current outlook of the Smart Home market, which featured speakers such as Stéphane Bohbot, President of Innov8 and founder of Lick stores, Benoît Van Den Bulcke, Administrator of the Fédération Française de Domotique – the French Smart Home association, Vincent Gufflet, Director of Services at Darty and Adam Simon, Global Managing Director of Retail Development at CONTEXT. Each shared their vision of the market and key concerns the industry should be addressing to ensure the market takes off.

According to our latest survey, 11% of respondents expressed their intention to buy smart home. When trying to assess what the main barriers to the development of the Smart Home market in France were, “a lack of understanding” by consumers (50%) was highlighted as a key factor.

There seemed to be a clear message from consumers to retailers to improve their approach to this product segment and focus on educating, explaining and demonstrating the use of Smart Home products to help the public feel comfortable with this concept in order to increase adoption.

In addition to the ‘’evangelisation’’ of the public, the way products were currently being displayed in stores should be re-addressed, according to Stephane Bohbot, and this is something Lick stores had decided to do this year by paying special attention to active demonstration and presentation of the products.

The Smart Home Survey clearly showed that a number of products in this category met key requirements by consumers. Amongst these was ‘security while away from home’ (80%) and ‘security whilst at home’ (39%).

This is where retailers have a central role to play in educating consumers about the benefits of smart home product purchases.

It is important to remember that smart home product purchases are not necessarily one-off purchases, but consumers have the potential of becoming ongoing subscribers, with opportunities such as SHaaS – SmartHome as a Service. The Smart Home category is beyond product selling and an open door to selling services. 74% of French respondents already stated that they would be ready to pay 15 euros per month for specific subscriptions.

However, in order reap the potential of this market, there is still some way to go. As Yehia Oweiss, VP Sales & Marketing at Hauppauge Digital, said: American retailers have succeeded in making this market take off, there is no reason why Europe cannot do the same too. Retailers need to invest and trust in this market and consumers will follow – just as they did on the other side of the Atlantic.

by SA

 

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Filed under Home automation, Mobile technology, Security, Smart Home, Smart Technology

Mobile security represents untapped growth opportunity for ICT channel players

According to results of the recent CONTEXT ChannelWatch survey, the majority of resellers across EMEA believe there are increased opportunities in selling mobile products.

The CONTEXT ChannelWatch report, which surveys close to 7000 resellers in EMEA, highlights that 88% of resellers backed this fast-growing sector. Tablets (67%), notebooks (56%) and smartphones (49%) were singled out as driving distribution sales.

As the annual Infosecurity Show in London gets underway today, the ChannelWatch results show that more specifically, mobile security was highlighted as representing a potentially large untapped growth opportunity for many channel players. Half of all respondents from Western Europe said they currently don’t address security projects for mobiles for their business customers. Of those that do, the vast majority (69%) focus on small and medium sized businesses (SMBs).

In Eastern Europe, nearly two-thirds of channel players (64%) are currently not involved in mobile security projects for business customers – a much higher figure than in the West (50%). Of those that do, the vast majority (76%) focus on SMBs.

While half of the resellers polled said they weren’t engaged in security projects yet, this represents a huge opportunity for them going forward. With security top of mind in many businesses we expect to see growth in this area going forward.

CONTEXT ChannelWatch is an annual research study that provides the most detailed insight into reseller behaviour, opinions and attitudes from across EMEA. With 6799 responding to the 2014 review making it the largest study of its kind.

Working closely with our distribution Panel, we achieve the maximum response in each market and region by inviting our participating distributors to send to their entire database. The online survey is then completed by the reseller response aggregated to ensure that confidentiality remains. More on CONTEXT ChannelWatch here.

 

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Filed under IT Distribution, Mobile technology, Security