Hackers Finding IoT Devices to be Easy Targets

There have been a lot of high-profile IoT horror stories recently, from connected cars being taken over, to hackers stealing credit card information from Target. These incidents underscore the need for much better security in the ever-growing list of connected devices in our homes, cars, and businesses. Measures like the three-level Underwriter Laboratory’s Cybersecurity Assurance Program for IoT products might help, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

A survey from the World Economic Forum found that the biggest concern for many businesses was vulnerability to cyber attacks. Meanwhile, Lux Research revealed that investments in startups related to “cyberphysical” security rose 78 percent last year to $228 million, and this is expected to increase even further to $400 million this year.

How Can IoT Security be Improved?

When a group of panelists at the NXP/FTF Technology Forum 2016 were asked whether they felt the IoT was secure, their answer was a resounding “no”. The connected devices found in homes, cars and phones are largely lacking specialty security hardware that could put a stop to attacks, they said. They also felt that consumers need to learn how to use their devices securely, and security providers should be compelled to teach them how to do so.

In addition, they suggest that manufacturers enlist hackers to break into their devices prior to producing them in mass quantities. They also recommend using cryptography and requiring that several rounds of authentication take place each day.

In many cases, businesses are in such a hurry to get their products to market that they fail to spend the proper amount of time and research on developing the right security. This approach will backfire if they are affected by high-profile breaches that harm their reputation. The most successful companies will be those that invest in proactively securing their IoT products from the outset rather than reacting to incidents after they occur.

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