Apr 15 2014

Securing the Internet of Things

As excitement around the connected-device future grows, technology vendors seek ways to secure their wares.

The idea that our refrigerators, toasters and millions of other objects can be “smartified” with sensor technology has captured the imagination of many in the IT industry. While the novelty of such emerging technology and the opportunity it offers are exciting, infusing all of these devices with an IP address also broadens the amount of technology that must be secured.

If your organization was confused about how to support the wave of tablets and smartphones that workers brought into the workplace, how much more challenging will it be to secure all of the Internet-enabled things that may soon invade the office?

McAfee, now an Intel company, has already made it known that it intends to lead the charge in securing the IoT future, according to a report from ZDNet.

Specifically, the company is seeking:

  • Assurance that devices are operating as intended by the manufacturer and have not been corrupted
  • Lifecycle security across the device, network, and data center
  • Support for industry standards and device interoperability
  • Ability to solve IT and cloud services challenges in connecting legacy and new systems to new and future services
  • Provide technology to assure individual privacy

McAfee isn’t the only vendor sounding the alarm about securing the Internet of Things. Jim Stogdill of O’Reilly Media also believes that the IoT needs to be watched closely. He recently wrote a blog post that touched on his security concerns:

These things are going to be a bridge between the virtual and real. We are building things that will both sense and act across that bridge. Your fancy thermostat might be a relatively unsecured bridgehead into the virtual world of your home network, as The New York Times points out, or it might be how a remote attacker freezes your pipes. This is getting real.

As we’ve seen time and time again with emerging technology, the lure of the shiny new thing can blind people to the vulnerabilities they might face. But at least prominent voices in IT are sounding the alarm early this time.