Menu
The Internet of Things: An exploding security minefield

The Internet of Things: An exploding security minefield

things are not improving in fact they are getting worse

Everybody from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to a unanimous crowd of security experts has been issuing increasingly insistent warnings that security is not being taken seriously in the explosive development of the Internet of Things (IoT).

But things are not improving in fact they are getting worse, according to Mark Stanislav and Zach Lanier, security evangelist and senior security researcher respectively, at Duo Security.

Speaking at SOURCE Boston in a presentation titled "The Internet of Things: We've Got to Chat", the two said this is in large measure because of what would otherwise be a good thing the democratization of the field. "There are a few hundred IoT-related companies, most of which you've never heard of," Stanislav said.

That means development of the IoT is, "not just for larger companies," Lanier said. "Anyone can make a thing and get $80,000 overnight to do it," from crowd-funding sources. "But the problem is that entrepreneurs are not security minded people. They have no experience with it and no budget," he said. "And they don't know why other people want to break their stuff."

Stanislav and Lanier said their goal is to help those small vendors understand the importance of security, and in so doing, "help them stay out of jail," with an initiative called "BuildItSecure.ly."

More from SOURCE Boston:

-Cognitive bias: The risk from everyone in your organization

-Schneier: Internet has delivered a "golden age of surveillance"

The security problem is growing by orders of magnitude. Estimates of the number of embedded devices that will be connected to the Internet by 2020 range from Gartner's 26 billion to more than 50 billion from FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, speaking at a workshop last November.

Lanier, pointing to hardware ranging in price from $25 to $169, said that each, "offers general purpose uses. You buy the thing, create an account and just write application code for it and it sends messages to whatever the device is. It's kind of SaaS that you can stick into something."

The point, he said, is that, "the barrier to entry (for developers) is very low. It is cheap hardware with unlimited possibilities."

And the cheaper it is, the more attractive it is to small developers who may be working out of their basements on shoestring budgets, but it is also much less likely to have rigorous security built in.

In what they called "A Case Study in IoT Failure IZON," the two said they had found 19 vulnerabilities, including unencrypted storage of customer data, information leakage, poor password security, lack of authentication for customer data and poor mobile security in a single IoT device.

No wonder, then, that the "challenges" to the industry include the security of just about everything involved the hardware, software, network and platform along with user awareness and behavior. If they are not addressed, IoT vulnerabilities could result in attackers getting control not just of your refrigerator and thermostat, but your garage door, door locks even the operation of your car.

Such things have already been demonstrated at conferences, and occurred in the real world. One, from January 2012, involved a hacker breaking into live feeds from 700 of TRENDnet's security cameras and making them available on the Internet. The company reached a settlement with the FTC that barred it from misrepresenting that its software is secure, but there were no reported financial penalties.

And a major barrier to addressing these problems, they said, is that users, "may not know, or care about installing updates. They just want to use the device."

So the goal of BuildItSecure.ly, they said, is to focus on the small vendors who don't have the budget or understanding of the need for security, build partnerships with them and educate them on best practices.

Their hope is to have the initiative, launched in February on a platform provided free by Bugcrowd, ready to launch in the next two months.

"We want to give vendors and researchers a say in how this works," Stanislav said, "and then we want to start finding bugs, rewarding researchers and solving problems."

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Federal Trade CommissionDuo SecurityapplicationsInternet of Thingsvulnerabilitysoftwaredata protection

Featured

Slideshows

Reseller News launches inaugural Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News launches inaugural Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomed 2015 and 2016 inductees - Darryl Swann, Dave Rosenberg, Gary Bigwood, Keith Watson, Mike Hill and Scott Green - to the inaugural Reseller News Hall of Fame lunch, held at the French Cafe in Auckland. The inductees discussed how the channel can collectively work together to benefit New Zealand, the Kiwi skills shortage and the future of the industry. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Reseller News launches inaugural Hall of Fame lunch
Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

​As the channel changes and industry voices deepen, the need for clarity and insight heightens. Market misconceptions talk of an “under pressure” distribution space, with competitors in that fateful “race for relevance” across New Zealand. Amidst the cliched assumptions however, distribution is once again showing its strength, as a force to be listened to, rather than questioned. Traditionally, the role was born out of a need for vendors and resellers to find one another, acting as a bridge between the testing lab and the marketplace. Yet despite new technologies and business approaches shaking the channel to its very core, distributors remain tied to the epicentre - providing the voice of reason amidst a seismic industry shift. In looking across both sides of the vendor and partner fences, the middle concept of the three-tier chain remains centrally placed to understand the metrics of two differing worlds, as the continual pulse checkers of the local channel. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable, in association with Dicker Data and rhipe, examined the pivotal role of distribution in understanding the health of the channel, educating from the epicentre as the market transforms at a rapid rate.

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel
Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

After Hours made a welcome return to the channel social calendar last night, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and resellers descending on The Jefferson in Auckland to kickstart 2017. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017
Show Comments