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The magic solution to smart device hacking could be blockchains

(TECH NEWS) The hackability of the IoT leaves device owners open to security breaches, but there could be a major revolution in cybersecurity if blockchains have anything to do with it,

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World less hackable

While super cool, the Internet of Things (IoT) is also extremely ripe for exploitation. The hackability of the IoT leaves device owners open to security breaches, but hey guess what? Blockchain technology might be here to save the day. Or at the very least, make your devices more secure.

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Simple guide to blockchains

As we’ve discussed before, some companies have developed IoT safety scanners. Prompted by major attacks, internet security companies introduced scanners that alert IoT users of possible network vulnerabilities. However, simply receiving an alert isn’t a strong enough security measure against potential attacks.

According to IoT World News, blockchain technologies could be the next step to bulk up IoT security. Wait, what’s a blockchain though? A blockchain is essentially a secure digital ledger of transactions that isn’t stored in a single location. Bits of information are recorded across multiple nodes within the network. Whether public or private, there is no centralized hub of information.

The decentralized structure means the whole system won’t collapse if one part of the blockchain is compromised.

In order to take down a network, hackers must penetrate at least 51 percent of the network’s nodes. This is typically not a good return on investment for cyber criminals since the cost of hacking far outweighs the potential reward.

Hackers being watched

Additionally, messing with a blockchain is risky since all data transactions are transparently recorded. With traditional IT architecture, hackers just need to breach a firewall or other defenses that are in place. Once they’re in, it is unlikely their tampering will immediately be noticed. It’s even more rare for malicious changes to be recorded in a traditional system.

But blockchains update any time an action is taken, even if it’s not financial. Anyone with access to the blockchain can see all activities since changes are updated across all nodes.

If someone hacks a blockchain, their action is not only recorded, but also potentially traceable back to them.Click To Tweet

Cryptography and digital signatures add another layer of security to blockchain. Every transaction has to be secured with digital signatures and encryption. Identity authentication and privacy protection are inherent to blockchain, which is great for IoT device users since these are major concerns.

Strengthening IoT security

IoT devices could also benefit from the supply chain transparency of blockchain. Every interaction, from part registration to sourcing and pricing, could be recorded through blockchain. This would make all relevant product information securely accessible, making it easier to track phases of new products. Right now this process is fragmented and often difficult to piece together. Using blockchain would increase visibility and accountability for each step.

Though blockchain offers many benefits, analysts stress that this technology isn’t a magic fix for all digital security problems. However, widespread implementation would certainly increase network reliability and security.

#BlockchainMagic

Lindsay is an editor for The Real Daily with a Communication Studies degree and English minor from Southwestern University. Lindsay is interested in social interactions across and through various media, particularly television, and will gladly hyper-analyze cartoons and comics with anyone, cats included.

Real Estate Technology

The 3 biggest names in real estate blockchain

(TECHNOLOGY NEWS) Blockchain backed technologies are taking over and disrupting all facets of society. These are the three biggest names doing so in real estate.

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It’s almost 2020 and everyday it’s feels more and more like the Jetson’s may’ve been right. Sure, we don’t have any flying cars (yet) but the other technology (ahemm, blockchain) that smartypants all of the world have created proves it.

One of the more recent (to me) and fascinating pieces of tech I’ve been learning about is blockchain and cryptocurrency. More than than, though, is the different applications of cryptocurrency.

I have two words for you — Mind. Blown.

In my recent enlightenment I learned that you can use cryptocurrencies to buy real estate which if you ask me is pretty dope.

Even more so, is that cryptocurrency is starting to be used to disrupt a very large and very old institution — viva la revolution!

The current (and tbh, NEW) big kids in the real estate blockchain space have tokenized fundraising.

Tokenized fundraising is similar to how you buy a subway pass for 15 rides, here you buy “tokens” as part of an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), and they use those funds to build out their product, and the tokens can be exchanged privately between users as their value increases and decreases just like stocks.

These are the three biggest tokenizers right now.

1. Atlant
Symbolized as ATL, Atlant is a real estate blockchain that is hoping to build a “next generation” global real-estate platform using blockchain technology. Atlant currently us using cryptofinancing (ICO) for growth instead of traditional venture capital and shareholders which is much more commonplace. Atlant sees the potential behind the blockchain technology and believe that it can help to accelerate the adoption of the Sharing Economy. That acceleration of the Sharing Economy will hypothetically disrupt the industry and open significant amounts of untouched private capacity and tokenization of property. They hope that the disruption will alter real estate transactions and ownership transfer entirely. Atlant allows users to trade parcels of property on their platform while bypassing intermediaries in rental deals and transact peer to peer so that users feel more secure as well as make it easier to use.

2. REAL
Also trying to disrupt real estate is Real Estate Asset Ledger aka REAL. REAL’s aim is to initiate a real estate investment revolution that will increase market liquidity and remove the barriers that prevented ordinary investors from reaping real estate profits in the past. REAL plans to do so by taking real estate investing and moving it onto the Ethereum blockchain and enabling the average investor to build a real estate portfolio. A cool feature about REAL is that property owners and developers must apply to have their assets tokenized and listed on the REAL crowdfunding website. Then the REAL team – which is composed of successful entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and developers who have already invested $350,000 of their own funds in the project – carefully analyze the properties to select the ones that will provide investors with the greatest long-term value. So the people making decisions have skin in the game too which means you don’t have some Joe Shmo investing all willy nilly.

3. Propy
Propy is an option we’ve already covered but is worth including in this story too. Propy also sees the problems facing international real estate transactions and wants to fight them by creating a unified property store and asset transfer platform for the global real estate industry. They, too, offer peer-to-peer value exchange, with service limited to facilitation and an absolute minimum of middleman involvement. Initially the Propy Registry will look and feel like official land registry records in which transfers of real estate are recorded. However, Propy’s big dream is that jurisdictions will adopt the Propy Registry as their own official ledger of record so that the transfer of a property on the Propy Registry constitutes the legal transfer of the property and the legal registration of that transfer.

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Real Estate Technology

KRACK is the wifi vulnerability Y2K wishes it was

(TECHNOLOGY NEWS) It was recently discovered that there is a vulnerability in all wifi networks, know how to keep your information from slipping through the KRACK!

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A security researcher has discovered a new vulnerability that affects literally all WiFi networks – and now that they know about it, it won’t be long before hackers know about it too.

The vulnerability, discovered by security researcher Mathy Vanhoef, lies within the WPA2 encryption used by all WiFi devices and routers. It’s called KRACK, which stands for Key Reinstallation Attacks.

By taking advantage of KRACKs, a hacker can snatch up data that we previously thought was encrypted and totally safe, including credit card numbers, passwords, messages in chat and email, and photographs. A hacker could even hack into your devices with cameras and get a live stream into your home.

They can also inject ransomware or malware into your device.

Security experts are urging all device makers and internet service providers (ISPs) to release updates to patch over KRACKs as soon as possible. In the meantime, there are a few suggestions for how you can protect yourself.

First of all, make sure all of your devices and routers are updated, and turn on auto-updates so that if any new KRACK patches come in, you’ll be sure to get them right away. If you got a router from your ISP, you should call them and bother them until they release a security patch for KRACKs.

In the meantime, use your router’s user guide to find the administrative options and make sure everything is up to date and that you have the strongest privacy settings selected.

If your ISP is slow to respond, you might consider using an Ethernet cable to connect to the Internet, since KRACKs are only a problem with WiFi networks.

You can also disable WiFi on your smartphone and use your cellular data instead – although this could get expensive if you pay extra for cellular. You should also pull you Internet of Things devices, especially ones with cameras and assistants like Alexa, off of WiFi until your ISP has a KRACK patch.

It also helps to access the web through encrypted websites whenever possible.

Many sites offer either unencrypted access (HTTP) or encrypted access (HTTPS). You can download an extension called HTTPS Everywhere that tells your browser to automatically use encrypted access whenever available.

It’s available for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.

Lastly, be aware that Android devices 6.0 or later are more vulnerable to KRACKs attacks than other devices. Good luck, and keep your information from slipping through the KRACKs!

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Real Estate Technology

Dot coms are on their way out when it comes to Realtors’ sites

(TECHNOLOGY NEWS) NAR is making moves to secure their Realtors sites with .Realtor and .realestate authentications.

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The National Association of Realtors (NAR), the governing body of American realtors, has offered the .REALTOR domain to those who are members and has extended its initial kick off program until 2018.

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Currently, members of NAR can acquire a .REALTOR for one free year, as well as branded domain email and website creation. After the first year, REALTORS will pay $39.95 for their domain. NAR is also working on acquiring the domain .realestate for those in its membership as well.

Pile on the pros

This change can affect the online presence of a realtor in many number of ways. Because the .realtor domain is strictly policed by NAR and top level domain (TLD) registration group Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), this allows for a certain amount of trust and credibility to be made with a future customer. Due to the NAR’s deal with ICANN, those who use .REALTOR has that his or her domain registration tied to their National Realtors Database System (NRDS) ID number.

NAR states that this process is similar to the verification process for a .gov or .edu address.

Another reason for the decision to layers of around the strict TLD verification is the protection of the NAR brand, as well as the word realtor. Laypeople frequently confuse the terms “realtor” and “real estate agent,” unaware of the fact that only a member of the NAR is officially a realtor, and licensed non members who sell property are actually real estate agents.

In 2015, .REALTOR was the fastest growing TLD that had authentic websites, i.e. not domains bought for the purpose of scalping.

The NAR is also the largest trade association in the United States, with 1.2 million members. The TLD process for the NAR made history by being the first brand using this type of verification that was previously only afforded to governmental bodies and educational institutions.

Added security

The internet is a vast superhighway of changing parts, and the modification of TLD is a selling point for enhancing a brand.

NAR is offering a service by allowing the TLD to be another source of credibility for its members, a perk few other trade organizations can match.

#DOTrealtor

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