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Yale alarm app debacle causes chaos across UK homes

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A system failure has caused the Yale smart security app to crash and reportedly resulted in customers unable to control their alarms.

On Wednesday, Yale told customers across the United Kingdom on Twitter that “unplanned network maintenance” might cause some customers to “experience connection issues.”

While Yale promised that the work would be complete within 24 hours to resolve the issue, this was later followed by a message which indicated the fix would take longer than expected.

The issue affected all app-controlled alarm systems.

CNET: Google Home Hub says no to smart-home cameras in your bedroom

“We’re very sorry but whilst working to fix the app we have experienced an unforeseen issue and the app is now temporarily unavailable,” Yale said. “We can only apologize for the inconvenience this is causing our customers. Our team is continuing to work through the night to restore the app.”

The “unforseen issue” also had consequences for customers, who took to Twitter to complain of app failures, as well as express anger that Yale did not inform them of the problems directly.

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Yale said that alarms could be disabled via the security system’s accompanying keyfob or keypad, but many customers appeared to have issues with this, with some reporting being unable to find their PIN — which was stored on the app — and the smart alarm being inaccessible by keypad.

The unresponsive app exacerbated the problem. The situation has been branded a “shambles” on social media.

The functionality of the app was partially restored by the next day but customers have continued to report connectivity issues; not only with the app itself but also with the product’s smart hub.

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A Yale spokesperson told ZDNet:

“We are very sorry for the inconvenience this has caused our smart alarm customers and we have been working tirelessly to resolve this.

This issue has only affected the Yale Home app that controls the smart alarm. Whilst the app has had a loss of functionality, customers have been able to arm and disarm their alarms via their keypads and keyfobs. At no point has there been a breach in our security, and all alarms have remained completely secure.

Our Bluetooth enabled smart door locks can operate independently via the Conexis app and at no point was this app affected. In addition, our smart door locks have various other methods of entry, including key tags, key cards, and PIN codes, none of which rely on an app for entering or leaving the property. For safety, all of our smart door locks allow mechanical egress (ability to exit without the use of electronics).

We have been keeping customers regularly updated whilst we fix the app and have been responding to all individual complaints and concerns.”

Yale has not responded to queries concerning the nature of the app’s failure.

Update 13.10, 9.47 BST: Yale now says that the majority of customers “should now have access to all app features, however, a small number of customers may still be experiencing minor issues.’

“Our team continue to work towards a permanent solution for all customers,” the company added. “We really appreciate your ongoing patience.”

TechRepublic: TechRepublic launches the ‘Smart Home Office’

This is not the first time that a smart security system has failed. Last year, LockState customers reported failures in their Wi-Fi-enabled smart lock products.

See also: Google’s campus door security blasted wide open by its own engineer

A botched firmware update sent to the wrong products created a “fatal error” which meant that remote fixes were impossible, leaving many Airbnb customers were unable to unlock the doors of properties they had booked.

Update 13.10, 9.39 BST: Article updated for increased clarity.

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The Five Pillars of (Azure) Cloud-based Application Security

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This 1-hour webinar from GigaOm brings together experts in Azure cloud application migration and security, featuring GigaOm analyst Jon Collins and special guests from Fortinet, Director of Product Marketing for Public Cloud, Daniel Schrader, and Global Director of Public Cloud Architecture and Engineering, Aidan Walden.

These interesting times have accelerated the drive towards digital transformation, application rationalization, and migration to cloud-based architectures. Enterprise organizations are looking to increase efficiency, but without impacting performance or increasing risk, either from infrastructure resilience or end-user behaviors.

Success requires a combination of best practice and appropriate use of technology, depending on where the organization is on its cloud journey. Elements such as zero-trust access and security-driven networking need to be deployed in parallel with security-first operations, breach prevention and response.

If you are looking to migrate applications to the cloud and want to be sure your approach maximizes delivery whilst minimizing risk, this webinar is for you.

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Data Management and Secure Data Storage for the Enterprise

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This free 1-hour webinar from GigaOm Research brings together experts in data management and security, featuring GigaOm Analyst Enrico Signoretti and special guest from RackTop Systems, Jonathan Halstuch. The discussion will focus on data storage and how to protect data against cyberattacks.

Most of the recent news coverage and analysis of cyberattacks focus on hackers getting access and control of critical systems. Yet rarely is it mentioned that the most valuable asset for the organizations under attack is the data contained in these systems.

In this webinar, you will learn about the risks and costs of a poor data security management approach, and how to improve your data storage to prevent and mitigate the consequences of a compromised infrastructure.

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CISO Podcast: Talking Anti-Phishing Solutions

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Simon Gibson earlier this year published the report, “GigaOm Radar for Phishing Prevention and Detection,” which assessed more than a dozen security solutions focused on detecting and mitigating email-borne threats and vulnerabilities. As Gibson noted in his report, email remains a prime vector for attack, reflecting the strategic role it plays in corporate communications.

Earlier this week, Gibson’s report was a featured topic of discussions on David Spark’s popular CISO Security Vendor Relationship Podcast. In it, Spark interviewed a pair of chief information security officers—Mike Johnson, CISO for SalesForce, and James Dolph, CISO for Guidewire Software—to get their take on the role of anti-phishing solutions.

“I want to first give GigaOm some credit here for really pointing out the need to decide what to do with detections,” Johnson said when asked for his thoughts about selecting an anti-phishing tool. “I think a lot of companies charge into a solution for anti-phishing without thinking about what they are going to do when the thing triggers.”

As Johnson noted, the needs and vulnerabilities of a large organization aligned on Microsoft 365 are very different from those of a smaller outfit working with GSuite. A malicious Excel macro-laden file, for example, poses a credible threat to a Microsoft shop and therefore argues for a detonation solution to detect and neutralize malicious payloads before they can spread and morph. On the other hand, a smaller company is more exposed to business email compromise (BEC) attacks, since spending authority is often spread among many employees in these businesses.

Gibson’s radar report describes both in-line and out-of-band solutions, but Johnson said cloud-aligned infrastructures argue against traditional in-line schemes.

“If you put an in-line solution in front of [Microsoft] 365 or in front of GSuite, you are likely decreasing your reliability, because you’ve now introduced this single point of failure. Google and Microsoft have this massive amount of reliability that is built in,” Johnson said.

So how should IT decision makers go about selecting an anti-phishing solution? Dolph answered that question with a series of questions of his own:

“Does it nail the basics? Does it fit with the technologies we have in place? And then secondarily, is it reliable, is it tunable, is it manageable?” he asked. “Because it can add a lot overhead, especially if you have a small team if these tools are really disruptive to the email flow.”

Dolph concluded by noting that it’s important for solutions to provide insight that can help organizations target their protections, as well as support both training and awareness around threats. Finally, he urged organizations to consider how they can measure the effectiveness of solutions.

“I may look at other solutions in the future and how do I compare those solutions to the benchmark of what we have in place?”

Listen to the Podcast: CISO Podcast

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