Thursday, Feb 18 2016

What Creeps Along With the Internet of Things? Security Threats

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What Creeps Along With The Internet Of Things

Every new technology brings along with it new risks, and the Internet of Things is no exception. Smart, connected devices can make our lives simpler and streamlined, but every connected device presents a new potential target for hackers. Before consumers are willing to use smart door locks, they'll want to be sure that the lock is smart enough to keep out hackers. Different companies are addressing these security risks in different ways to reassure consumers their data and products are safe.

 

Use Secure Networks

The connections to the network make these devices vulnerable. Many devices have connections via Wi-Fi, but cellular connections are more secure.

 

Use Opt-In Rather Than Opt-Out

Once devices connect to the network, they typically send information to a backend server for analytics. Backend servers can also store personal information, like payment methods. Rather than automatically participating in this data collection, newer devices require users to opt-in to the data gathering.

 

Develop Better Security Tools

Part of the reason security is so challenging on these devices is that they're small; they run on batteries and have low computing power as well. Some standard encryption methods simply can't run on the devices. Vendors need to develop smaller, better algorithms to protect these devices.

 

Implement Automatic Updates

Vendors need to ensure that security patches get installed on devices. They'll need to build functionality to push updates rather than relying on users to download updates. They'll need to push firmware updates as well as updates to their device application software.

 

The aspirations for the Internet of Things are enormous. The market includes consumers and enterprises; factories, offices, hospitals, and agricultural fields. The scope extends from smart homes to smart cities. Because security will be so important in achieving that vision, the tech industry is working hard to fix the problem. The International Standards Organization is examining how its security standards could be applied to IoT, and reference architectures are being developed that should help ensure security isn't an afterthought in designing an IoT device. There are also several vendor alliances tackling the security issue. While threats can never be fully eliminated, they can be reduced while the use of IoT spreads.