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TECHNOLOGY

How smart homes are changing our lives

By Chris Connell, Managing Director for Asia Pacific at Kaspersky

Smart home technologies have long ceased to be something new or surprising. Today, the idea of smart home appliances or switches isn’t from a cyberpunk scene, but rather an actively emerging reality.

For example, the report from Berg Insight revealed that the number of smart homes in Europe and North America reached 102.6 million in 2020.

What was once a collection of single and separate devices, smart homes are turning into fully-fledged smart systems that can supply coffee on time, adjust the temperature, and monitor the security of your house while you are away. All of this is possible thanks to the digitalization of an increasing number of devices. Kaspersky has developed a list of the most interesting benefits which the modern smart home can provide to become a fully-fledged personal assistant or protector.

Safety

Smart home technology can take the safety of your home to the next level. And we aren’t just talking about alarms. Modern cameras, motion sensors, and even smart door locks will help turn your home into a real fortress, and immediately send a message to your smartphone if something happens.

One of the most obvious examples is the installation of a home video surveillance system connected to the internet. Such cameras will work 24/7 and allow owners to look at what is happening anywhere in the house through an app on a smartphone. Sometimes such cameras have a motion sensor – if a camera sees something moving (be it a cat, a dog, or an intruder) it records the file and sends it to the server. Your device then receives a notification so that you can react as quickly as possible and perhaps prevent your property from being broken into.

The smart home has also made it possible to reinvent door locks. In order to secure your home as much as possible, the easiest option is to stop intruders from being able to get through the door. However, modern locks have moved on from being just a mechanism. Today, they can do much more than just prevent intruders from getting inside. For example, they can send you a notification when someone walks in and out, or create access codes for you or those who work in your home (nanny, housekeeper, gardener, etc.).

All of these solutions can turn your house into a high-tech home, but even smart defenses need protection. To ensure your defender has a shield, solutions have been created that help protects not only individual devices from being hacked but the entire IoT ecosystem.

Peace of mind

There are always numerous small things to worry about around the house – have I turned off the iron or closed the door? Who will water the flowers while I am on vacation? Even a small doubt is enough to ruin an evening out with friends or a short vacation with a loved one.

Smart devices can provide much-needed reassurance in such situations. Smart water leak detectors, for example, which react to contact with water, can help you to stay calm and relaxed. Sensors can be installed next to batteries, pipes in the bathroom and in the kitchen. The devices are not only able to monitor the water level, but also determine the level of humidity in the room: if you are suddenly flooded from above, you will know immediately even if you are not at home.

The same situation is true with smart smoke detectors, which can warn of danger before it is too late. If wiring suddenly lights up in the house or an open fire remains burning, the sensor will immediately react.

Another important assistant – a smart socket – will also warn you if you forgot to turn off the iron whilst in a rush. Seeing the notification on your smartphone, you can remotely disconnect the device from the power no matter where you are.

Comfort

The time has finally come when you can allow yourself to truly relax and leave some of your household duties in the hands of technology. By automating some types of furniture, we can take comfort and health care to a new level.

For example, Eight Sleep has developed a bed equipped with sensors capable of monitoring the user’s sleep quality based on 15 parameters, including the duration of REM and deep sleep phases, and heart rate patterns. This allows you to choose the optimal time for going to bed and waking up.

A smart bed will gently wake up the owner, catching the moment when the body is ready to rise, and create a pleasant morning environment, for example, turn on calm music or a light vibration, turn on the light or start the coffee machine via voice command.

Besides sleep comfort, a smart home can also make cooking much easier, enjoyable and fun. For example, the EYWA Kitchen Smart Screen is a small panel, no larger than a standard wall cabinet door. It easily fits into any kitchen, making it an indispensable helper. It can:

⦁ Find recipes for dishes online;

⦁ Make a list of required ingredients;

⦁ Independently purchase them online;

⦁ Order delivery at a specified time;

⦁ Turn on household appliances and set timers;

⦁ Distract children with a cartoon;

In order to safely use such smart solutions which are integrated into your daily activities (including cooking, shopping, choosing content), you need to ensure the safety of the devices themselves. Otherwise, attackers could get into your home network and gain access to personal data through convenient smart boards or switches.

The first and simplest step may be to change the default device password to a more complex one – but resist the temptation to copy the password from other accounts. If you have lots of devices and are finding it difficult to remember all the passwords, you can use a special solution to protect the ecosystem of the smart home. This will not only keep passwords safe, but also warn you if the password has already been compromised.

Pet help

In addition to caring for the safety and comfort of home owners, the IoT market seeks to make life easier and better for pets. According to research, the size of the PetTech market in the United States has reached $5.5 billion – this includes connected collars, smart doors, feeders, fences, toys etc.

Some of the most popular smart pet devices are for drinks and feeders. They help to not only control nutrition and prevent overeating, but also allow you to leave pets for a while at home alone, without worrying that your cat is hungry or has knocked over a bowl of water. Of course, in some extreme situations cats can also turn on survival mode – for example, a cat was recently discovered eating cardboard and drinking from a leaking tap for 52 days. However, no owner would like to repeat this scenario for their pet.

If everything is covered with feeding and drinking, what else can manufacturers of smart devices develop to support pet care? How about chatting with your dog?

Start-up FluentPet, has come up with a device for human-dog communication. The device is a panel with buttons labeled with different symbols. With its help, the company seeks to test the hypothesis that animals can express their emotions and desires by clicking on pictures.

Another example is smart animal houses which are designed to improve comfort for pets. They are equipped with intelligent temperature control and environmental sensors that regulate the temperature inside depending on the number of degrees outside. In addition, the houses can monitor the health of the animal, tracking and recording pet activity and sleep data. All of this information can be read from the app in the smartphone in order to timely monitor the health of your pet.

Eco-friendly living

Besides comfort and safety, smart home technologies help make our lives more environmentally friendly by using resources more smartly – for example, using water and electricity in a more rational way.

For example, sensors can turn lights on and off in a room, depending on whether there are people there or not. Another option is smart heating, which will allow you to maintain certain microclimate parameters in each room. For example, if everyone leaves for school and work in the morning, the system can reduce energy consumption and increase it later in the day when everyone is back.

However, in addition to controlling energy consumption, modern smart homes are also able to produce energy. For this, systems for the production of alternative energy are built in – such as solar panels, wind turbines or geothermal installations.

Depending on the location of the building, in some cases, even the energy of water – currents or tides – can be used. As a result, the smart home control center can not only control energy consumption but also monitor its production, as well as rational distribution.

Modern smart homes built from scratch include energy-saving technologies. Heat leakage and CO2 emissions from such buildings are minimal. Smart walls, roofs, and other building elements can inform the owner about their problems: the appearance of moisture or heat leaks. This allows you to promptly correct the defect that has appeared.

In general, the market for smart devices is actively growing and manufacturers of such systems are striving to digitize more and more elements of the house. This not only improves safety and comfort but also benefits the environment. As a result, smart homes are being transformed from a cluster of single, simple devices into true multi-layered digital ecosystems, which also require an appropriate level of protection.

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TECHNOLOGY

Infinix launches the all-new HOT 20S, the best value-for-money gaming phone yet

November 27, 2022 7:20 p.m.

Filipinos absolutely live and breathe mobile gaming, and here’s some good news: being the best mobile gamer around no longer has to break the bank.

That’s because Infinix is dropping the brand-new HOT 20S on November 27, which lets you own the competition as a top game assassin–all at an affordable price.

Now, you don’t even have to spend more than P9,000 to enjoy #MoreSmoothGameplay on the HOT 20S. The phone packs a Helio G96 Premium Gaming Processor and up to 13 GB of RAM, which powers all your favorite games and allows it to perfectly handle the toughest and latest titles. You can have a wide selection of games to download and stomp other players in thanks to its 128GB ROM storage.

You’ll also never miss a single detail in the action thanks to the HOT 20S’s 120Hz 6.78-inch Full HD+ HyperVision Gaming Pro display, which gives you bright and vivid high-resolution visuals no matter what you’re running. Your sessions can also go for as long as you want thanks to its 5000mAh Power Monster battery that fills up quickly with its 18W Power Charge.

The whole gaming experience is rounded out by the HOT 20S’s Bionic Breathing Cooling System, which keeps the phone humming and going through great heat and pressure. Meanwhile, the All-Around Gaming Network Enhancement Turbo increases its performance during playtime even further.

For those who still want to upload great-looking content on their social media accounts, the HOT 20S also packs a solid 50MP Super Nightscape Triple Camera setup, which lets you take stunning photos and videos, especially in low-light settings.

So what are you waiting for–be the best game assassin you can be without spending too much, as the Infinix HOT 20S gives you #MoreThanWhatYouPayFor, guaranteed. Get it for a suggested retail price of P8,499 from Lazada, Shopee, TikTok Shop, and official Infinix kiosks nationwide starting November 27. Get it for even less at only P7,849 exclusively on Lazada on November 28, and P7,999 in a limited-time Flash Sale on LazadaShopeeTikTok Shop starting December 1. For more info on the HOT 20S, visit the official Infinix website.

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TECHNOLOGY

JBL SOUND ALL AROUND: Pump up your sound trip with JBL’s new, exciting range of products

November 21, 2022 12:54 p.m.

Everyone is a true original. We march to the beat of our own drums, with the freedom to design our life exactly the way we want it. Goodbye to treading the “traditional,” and here’s to paving our own exciting paths. Whether you like the adrenaline of living it up in the fast lane or taking it slow and steady, cruising through life on your own terms, JBL understands that there’s no such thing as a “one-size” fits all kind of lifestyle. That’s why JBL continues to innovate and provide SOUND ALL AROUND.

JBL is the brand for all your audio needs–encompassing all aspects of sound, whatever your field. From professionals, to students, athletes, gamers, content creators, and more, every person can enjoy unique sound tailored to their own story. And in pursuit of providing only the best for each individual, JBL is introducing a new range of essentials under the gaming, sports, speakers, and True Wireless categories. 

Here, find exactly what you need that that reflects your own reality. It’s time to elevate your life and your sound trip with JBL!

Living Hands-Free

For students and professionals, you may find yourself spending countless of hours commuting or hanging out at your work/ study desk, tackling the day’s load. Allow yourself to fully focus on your task at hand or make the trip around the campus or city more enjoyable with JBL’s True Wireless Earbuds. 

The JBL Wave Beam and JBL Wave Buds are perfect if you want to bring your sound everywhere. With bass you can feel and a battery life of up to 32 hours, these ear candies deliver crystal clear sound with Smart Ambient technology that keeps you aware of your surroundings.

For the go-getting entrepreneur or professional, the JBL Tune Flex is a flex you should get. Its ergonomic and water-resistant design gives you all-day comfort for any weather. In addition, it’s designed with a simple touch feature that allows you to manage and enjoy calls anywhere, without ambient noises. Now, you can choose whether you want to tune out the world or engage with your surroundings.

Working/ studying from home? No problem. The JBL Live Free 2 and the JBL Live Pro 2 allow you to make clear, perfect calls with six beamforming mics. You can also access your preferred voice assistant for seamless, hands-free control and connection. The Live Free 2 earbuds deliver up to 35 hours of incredible JBL Signature Sound (with 7 hours in the earbuds + 28 hours in the case), speed charging, and Qi-compatible wireless charging for when your batteries need a boost. The Live Pro2 delivers the same amazing benefits with up to 40 hours of incredible JBL Signature Sound (with 10 hours in the earbuds + 30 hours in the case). Each are beautifully designed to fit your aesthetic and give you a stylishly elevated, ergonomic set. 

Born to Move

When you’re in the zone, nothing should distract you. JBL’s in-ear sports earphones keep you on track, especially if you want to be unstoppable. For athletes and other active individuals, the JBL Run 2 and the Run 2 B make for a perfect fit. 

These wireless sets will get you the motivation you need to push harder. Their FlipHookdesign adapt to an in-ear or behind-the-ear fit for convenience. In addition, the comfortable combination of FlexSoftear tips and TwistLocktechnology guarantees that they will never to hurt or fall out. Heading out into the rain or heat? Thanks to IPX5 waterproof, these wireless headphones keep up with you every step of the way. Enjoy a playback of 10 hours, an in-line microphone, and remote for hands-free control of sound and calls. 

Built to Win

Gaming is no longer just a hobby, it’s a real profession. And if you’re looking for a set that helps you stand out, then going with the JBL Quantum 810 is a must! Fully immerse in a new world ushered by the signature JBL QuantumSOUND, which makes even the tiniest audio details come in crystal clear; and JBL QuantumSURROUND, the best spatial surround sound for gaming with DTS Headphone:X version 2.0 technology.

If you’re more on-the-go, JBL Quantum TWS is for you. Play anywhere and hear everything as this innovative pair features True Adaptive Noise Cancelling technology. Lose yourself in the game and limit distractions with accurate surround sound. Easily Fast Pair with Bluetooth smartphones and establish low latency 2.4GHz connections to compatible devices with the included USB-C dongle.

Life of the Party

#YOLO Make every day and every gathering one for the books! Turn your space into a club with the JBL Boombox 3, the most powerful portable Bluetooth speaker now made even better! It’s been redesigned with a new subwoofer unleashing much deeper bass and massive JBL Original Pro Sound, all with lower distortion. Party to 24 hours of play time, hyping you up from your morning workout to the late-night rendezvous with your friends. 

For a truly unforgettable experience, grab the JBL PartyBox Encore speaker and the JBL Pulse 5. Sync the lightshow’s rockin’ strobes, ring, and club lights for an awesomely immersive experience. You can also sing along with JBL PartyBox Encore’s premium digital wireless mic, optimized for karaoke with adjustable echo, bass, and treble. Both speakers are dustproof and waterproof so take them from your backyard to the beach and beyond! 

Life is what you make it. So, enjoy every moment and dive into the perfect sound trip every day with JBL. Now, that’s a vibe. 

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TECHNOLOGY

The next WannaCry and drone hacking: Advanced persistent threats in 2023

November 16, 2022 1:14 p.m.

Kaspersky researchers presented their vision of the future for advanced persistent threats (APTs), defining the changes in the threat landscape that will emerge in 2023. Attacks on satellite technologies, mail servers, the rise of destructive attacks and leaks, drone hacking and the next big cyber epidemic are among some of the predictions for the next year.

The political turmoil of 2022 brought about a shift that will echo in cybersecurity for years to come and have a direct effect on the development of future sophisticated attacks. The 2023 forecast is based on the expertise and the activities the Kaspersky Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) has witnessed this year while tracking more than 900 APT groups and campaigns.

The next WannaCry and drones for proximity hacking

Statistically, some of the largest and most impactful cyber epidemics occur every six to seven years. The last such incident was the infamous WannaCry ransomware-worm, leveraging the extremely potent EternalBlue vulnerability to automatically spread to vulnerable machines. Kaspersky researchers believe the likelihood of the next WannaCry happening in 2023 is high. 

One potential reason for an event like this occurring is that the most sophisticated threat actors in the world are likely to possess at least one suitable exploit, and current global tensions greatly increase the chance a ShadowBrokers-style hack-and-leak could take place.

Major shifts will be reflected in new types of targets and attack scenarios too, as experts believe next year, we may see bold attackers and specialists adept at mixing physical-and cyber-intrusions, employing drones for proximity hacking. 

Some of the possible attack scenarios include mounting drones with sufficient tooling that would allow the collection of WPA handshakes used for offline cracking of WiFi passwords or even dropping malicious USB keys in restricted areas in the hope that a passer-by would pick them up and plug them into a machine.

Other advanced threat predictions for 2023 include:

  • SIGINT-delivered malware

One of the most potent attack vectors imaginable, which uses servers in key positions of the internet backbone allowing man-on-the-side attacks, may come back stronger next year. While these attacks are extremely hard to spot, Kaspersky researchers believe they will become more widespread and will lead to more discoveries.

  • The rise of destructive attacks

Given the current political climate, Kaspersky experts foresee a record number of disruptive and destructive cyber-attacks, affecting both the government sector and key industries. It is likely that a proportion of them will not be easily traceable to cyber incidents and will look like random accidents. The rest will take the form of pseudo-ransomware attacks or hacktivist operations to provide plausible deniability for their real authors. High-profile cyber attacks against civilian infrastructures, such as energy grids or public broadcasting, may also become targets, as well as underwater cables and fiber distribution hubs, which are challenging to defend.

  • Mail servers become priority targets

Mail servers harbor key intelligence so are of interest to APT actors and have the biggest attack surface imaginable. The market leaders of this type of software have already faced exploitation of critical vulnerabilities, and 2023 will be the year of 0days for all major email programs.

  • APT targeting turns toward satellite technologies, producers, and operators

With existing capabilities, evidence of APTs being capable of attacking satellites -with the Viasat incident as an example- it is likely that APT threat actors will increasingly turn their attention to the manipulation of, and interference with, satellite technologies in the future – making the security of these technologies ever more important.

  • Hack-and-leak is the new black (and bleak)

The new form of hybrid conflict that unrolled in 2022 involved a large number of hack-and-leak operations. These will persist in the coming year with APT actors leaking data about competing threat groups or disseminating information.

  • More APT groups will move from CobaltStrike to other alternatives

CobaltStrike, a red-teaming tool, has become a tool of choice for APT actors and cybercriminal groups alike. With it gaining so much attention from the defenders, it is likely that attackers will switch to new alternatives such as Brute Ratel C4, Silver, Manjusaka or Ninja, all offering new capabilities and more advanced evasion techniques.  

“It is quite clear 2022 saw major changes to the world’s geopolitical order and ushers in a new era of instability. A portion of our predictions focus on how this instability will translate into nefarious cyber activities, while others reflect our vision of which new attack vectors will be explored by attackers. Better preparation means better resilience and we hope our assessment of the future will enable defenders to strengthen their systems and repel cyberattacks more effectively,” says Ivan Kwiatkowski, senior security researcher at Kaspersky.

The APT predictions have been developed thanks to Kaspersky’s threat intelligence services used around the world. Read the full report on Securelist.

These predictions are a part of Kaspersky Security Bulletin (KSB) – an annual predictions series and analytical articles on key changes in the world of cybersecurity. Click here to look at other KSB pieces.

To look back at what the Kaspersky experts expected to see in the advanced targeted threats landscape in 2022, please read our previous yearly report.

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