5 predictions on the future of the Internet of Things

Authored by a Symantec employee


The internet landscape is growing at an exponential rate. It’s not just about computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones anymore. There are now a multitude of devices that are internet connected. Washing machines, robotic vacuum cleaners, door locks, toys and even toasters are now becoming “smart.” That crazy future we were promised in the science fiction stories is slowly starting to show up, and consumers are flocking to own a piece of that promise. As a result, we now have what is called the “Internet of Things,” the new umbrella term for anything that connects to the internet.

As hot new gadgets make our homes smarter, they’re also making them more vulnerable.

With more of our devices connecting to the Internet – smart TVs, webcams, gaming consoles, thermostats – it’s crucial to have a good defense plan for your home network.

Help protect all of your personal devices connected to your home network, not just your laptop or desktop computer, with Norton Core.

We’ve been keeping a close eye on this new landscape, and as a result, we’ve come up with 5 predictions on trends in the Internet of Things you’ll be seeing over the next few years.

1. By 2020, it is estimated that there will be up to 21 billion connected devices

Over 3.9 billion connected devices were in use worldwide in 2016. According to Gartner, Internet of Things (IoT) devices look like they’re here to stay. In 2015, there were approximately 4.9 million things connected to the internet. That number went from millions to billions in one year.

2. Hackers will continue to use IoT devices to facilitate DDoS attacks

In October 2016, the world was introduced to the very first “Internet of Things” malware, which is a strain of malware that can infect connected devices such as DVRs, security cameras and more. The Mirai malware accessed the devices using default password and usernames. The malware then turns the affected devices into a botnet in order to facilitate a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. This attack ended up flooding one of the largest website hosting companies in the world, bringing slew of major, well-known websites and services to a screeching halt for hours.

This particular strain of malware is what is called “open source,” which means the code is available for anyone to modify. As a result, four months after this attack, researchers discovered a modified version of the code that can infect Windows computers, and use those computers to infect other connected devices.

3. More cities will become "smart"

Consumers won’t be the only ones using IoT devices. Cities and companies, always trying to become more efficient and save both time and money, will also start adopting “smart” technologies. Meaning that cities will be able to automate, remotely manage, and collect data through visitor kiosks, video camera surveillance systems, bike rental stations, and even taxis.

4. Artificial intelligence will really become a “thing”

Smart home hubs, thermostats, lighting systems and even coffee makers all collect data on your habits and patterns of usage. Voice-controlled devices actually record what you say to them and then store those recordings in the cloud. All of this data is collected to help facilitate what is called machine learning. Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence that actually helps computers “learn” without having to be programmed by a person. These computers are programmed in a way that focuses on data that they receive. This new data can then help the machine “learn” what your preferences are and adjust itself accordingly.

5. Routers will become more secure and “smarter”

Since a majority of these devices reside in the home, and they cannot have security software installed on them, they are very vulnerable to attacks. With the rush of the IoT craze in the consumer market, many manufacturers are working to get their product to market quickly, so sometimes, security can be overlooked. This is where the home router plays a very important role. The router is essentially the entry point of the Internet into your home. While the connected devices cannot be protected by themselves, the router has the ability to provide protection at the entry point. Although today’s typical router does provide some additional security (such as password protection, firewalls, and the ability to configure them to only allow certain devices on your network), they do not come with installed security software. Which means that malware can still sneak through. With the popularity of IoT devices, and the high vulnerabilities they carry, attackers are already focusing on ways to exploit them. Therefore it’s crucial that we get ahead of the bad guys and keep them out of our homes.

One way that can be accomplished is with the new Norton Core Router. Norton Core is the first and only high-performance, secure router with Norton protection bundled into it. Unlike conventional routers, Norton Core was built to secure and protect connected homes. Norton Core fundamentally changes the equation as it is built consciously, with security as the primary consideration. From data encryption, to secure DNS, to automatic security updates, Norton Core will secure connected homes with state of the art security. Norton Core is now available for pre-order.

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Symantec Corporation, the world’s leading cyber security company, allows organizations, governments, and people to secure their most important data wherever it lives. More than 50 million people and families rely on Symantec’s Norton and LifeLock comprehensive digital safety platform to help protect their personal information, devices, home networks, and identities.

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