More and more of the devices, appliances, and electronic items we buy have some level of internet connectivity. It is now critical to secure those devices from unwanted access or attackers. Unfortunately, in the rush to make anything and everything an Internet of Things (IoT) device, most manufacturers failed to secure them adequately. Although there are some protections in place on most devices, they are years behind even current hacking technology.

Why would anyone want to hack a home appliance in the first.? Well, it is all about information. The purpose behind common spam, ransomware, and identity theft is financial gain. If a hacker can access your wireless network and intercept information, then he has access to everything from your usernames and passwords to bank details. When it comes to home appliances, the biggest threat is access to the microphone. Amazon, Apple, Google, and other vendors are adding mics to all their devices so people can use voice commands. The flip-side to those devices is that if someone gains access, they have access to all your conversations.

Here is how to secure your smart home:

Use the latest wireless protocols available. Avoid using WEP and stick to updated devices with WPA2.

Use two wireless networks. If your equipment supports multiple SSID’s, then create one for your computers and another for other devices to keep the traffic separate.

If possible, use a firewall to secure your network from outside access. The average home will not have the knowledge use one so look around for a company that can install and maintain a firewall.


KRACK is the worst vulnerability to affect consumer and professional networking equipment in a long time. Wireless networks have various safeguards in place to protect against intrusion and what the industry calls “man in the middle” attacks. Unfortunately, there is a flaw in what the currently the most secure wireless network protocol, WPA2. Using the KRACK vulnerability that is part of the protocol, an attacker who is in physical range can fool the router and gather all the information from other devices in the network.

There are two pieces of good news. The first is that the discovery was by a security researcher and not some rogue entity. The second is that most believe that the security researcher was the first to discover the flaw and manufacturers knew in advance of the announcement. Most vendors have had time to work on fixing the vulnerability in their devices.

The bad news is that depending on the vendor of your router and other devices, updates might not be forthcoming for some time. Apple and Microsoft have updates for all their devices and if you keep your systems up to date you should have no issues.

However, most vendors will not have patches ready and even if they do it is up to the owner to download and apply the patch. The issue here is that most public Wi-FI networks will remain vulnerable for some time. Avoid using any public wireless networks to enter or transfer sensitive information.


We may see self-driving trucks before we see a driverless taxi service, says Waymo CEO John Krafcik. The CEO says that there are two potential paths forward for the Waymo self-driving technology: A driverless taxi service or autonomous tasks.

“Ride-sharing makes a lot of sense for the world,” he said at Bloomberg’s Sooner Than You Think conference on Cornell University’s Tech engineering campus in New York City. “For goods transportation, which could travel primarily on highways, there’s a good and compelling use-case there, too. Either of those two might be the first ones you see.”

Krafcik says the company is looking at several models for logistics and delivery. He did not share any plans, but there are rumors that Waymo plans to launch a taxi service in Chandler, Phoenix as soon as 2018. Also, we know from Krafcik that Waymo has at least one truck with driverless technology in testing.

To get automakers on board, Waymo is proposing a radical alternative to the current business model. Krafcik is pitching a per-mile business model to the carmakers, where the carmakers would make money over the lifetime of a car rather than a one-time charge. He says that this model will earn the carmakers more.

Waymo is in talks with several carmakers and may sign deals to use their technology.


2017 is the third consecutive year that LG reports that its top of the line phone is not selling well. This year LG places the blame on “weaker than expected premium smartphone sales and increase in component costs.” Last year, the G5 was to blame for a “weak quarter” and in 2015 the G4 sales “fell short of expectations.” All attempts by LG to break into the premium smartphone market are failing.

As a company, LG is doing okay and does not rely on smartphone sales. The company has three divisions: Home Entertainment, Home Appliances, and Automotive components that are all doing well. In fact, LG has never made a profit on its smartphones and still hasn’t given up.

LG saw Samsung as its primary competitor and built the G6 to beat the S8 to the market. It was the decision to use the year-old Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, that was the downfall of the G6. By going for an older processor, LG thought it has a three week lead over the S8, however, by the time the phone was available in the US, Samsung was accepting pre-orders for the S8.

Most reviews say that the S8 is just a better-built version of the G6. By trying to beat the S8 to market, LG sacrificed using the latest processor, ending up with a phone that cost as much as the S8 but was a generation behind in CPU.


Summary: IT consultants can make or break your business.

One of the first things that you need to consider when hiring an IT consultant is what their employment status will be. Lay out the fundamentals of what you’re hiring him for. This is crucial when it comes to any legal issues that may arise.

It’s also important for companies to correctly determine whether the IT consultant is an employee or an independent contractor and follow through with the appropriate Social Security and Medicare contributions.

Relationship

If you’re going the route of using an IT staffing service as opposed to the independent contractor, they can help determine who’s right for your company. Be sure that you consider three different categories such as: behavioral, financial, and type of relationship. These all tie in together when it comes down to how your consultant will work in your company.

Protect Yourself In the Case of an Issue

It’s also key to protect your intellectual property. If a consultant holds your social media account hostage because of contractual issues, you’re probably going to have some difficulties when it comes to getting back what you need to run your business smoothly. This is why it’s so important that your company receives the IT consultant’s services address IP up front. Never forget to do this.

Prioritize the Interview Process

It consultants are often tied to core businesses. Be sure that you conduct a thorough interview like you would a regular employee. You want to be sure that the consultant can do what he claims he can along with other factors that play a role in determining whether he’s a good fit or not.

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