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The Internet of Things Is Not Always So Comforting

- February 8, 2016 - 4 Comments

Over the past few years, the Internet of Things (IoT) has emerged as reality with the advent of smart refrigerators, smart HVAC systems, smart TVs, and more. Embedding internet-enabled devices into everything presents new opportunities in connecting these systems to each other, making them “smarter,” and making our lives more convenient than ever before.

Despite the new possibilities, there are major concerns about the IoT which inspire a legitimate question: “What happens if it’s not ‘done right’ and there are major vulnerabilities with the product?

The unfortunate truth is that securing internet-enabled devices is not always a high priority among vendors and manufacturers. Some manufactures do not have the necessary infrastructure to inform the public about security updates or to deliver them to devices. Other manufacturers are unaccustomed to supporting products past a certain time, even if a product’s lifespan may well exceed the support lifecycle. In other cases, the lack of a secure development lifecycle or a secure public portal to report security defects makes it near impossible for researchers to work with a vendor or manufacturer. These problems expose users and organizations to greater security risks and ultimately highlight a major problem with the Internet of Things.

What does this mean for the average user? For starters, a smart device on their home or office network could contain unpatched vulnerabilities. Adversaries attacking the weakest link could exploit a vulnerable IoT device, then move laterally within an organization’s network to conduct further attacks. Additionally, patching vulnerable devices can be complicated, if not impossible, for the average user or for those who are not technically savvy. For organizations that maintain large amounts of IoT devices on their network, there may not be a way to update a device that scales, creating a nightmare scenario.



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    Yes as technology expands so does the complexity and potential for security and functional failures. Careful analysis of product vulnerabilities must be taken seriously before deployments.

    • I agree with you, Janice. I really think that manufacturers should work on the security side of each devices even more, especially now that IoT is really at the spotlight of the industry.

    IoT is both exciting and scary from a security perspective... thankful to work with a team that's on the front lines anticipating vulnerabilities.

    we need each host to have a built in f/w for IoT if not the threat will only increase and may cause more and more unwanted trafic as device number grow expotentially