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Why IoT Security Is Scary and What to Do About It

May 19, 2016
Because of its sheer complexity and variability, the Internet of Things poses unique security risks. There are, however, concrete steps you can take to address them.

The FBI has issued several alarming cybersecurity warnings recently. In late April, it noted that there had been a significant spike in ransomware against hospitals, schools, police departments, as well as individuals. In March, it announced that the U.S. government had charged seven Iranian hackers with exploiting nearly 50 financial institutions and compromising the controls of a New York dam. Before that, it released separate warnings indicating that cars, farm equipment, and medical devices were all vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Such warnings underscore the unique security problems posed by the Internet of Things, which encompasses billions of objects encompassing everything from connected cars to energy grids.

Security has been one of the top concerns in the IoT space since the British entrepreneur Kevin Ashton coined the term “Internet of Things” in 1999. According to a multi-industrial survey organized by Penton, security and data privacy were the two biggest concerns in the IoT space.

There are wholly new business models involved in the IoT and they are quickly evolving. “As these business models change, they require more interoperability and sharing of data and exchanging of command of control across ecosystems and partners,” said John Sirianni is VP of IoT strategic partnerships at Webroot in an interview at IoT World on May 11 (pictured). “The number of interfaces—between devices, databases, and networks—is growing exponentially. Those interfaces are opportunities for loss of command and control.”

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Internet of Things Institute (IoTI) is, like IndustryWeek, powered by Penton, an information services company.

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