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Risk

9/5/2014
03:00 PM
Marilyn Cohodas
Marilyn Cohodas
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Poll: Significant Insecurity About Internet of Things

Fewer than one percent of more than 800 Dark Reading community members are ready for the fast approaching security onslaught of the IoT.

Which "Thing" of the Internet of Things represents the greatest potential security risk? They all do, according to the latest Dark Reading community poll, Security of "Things."

Admittedly, the choices in our unscientific instant poll are somewhat loaded.

When asked to select from a list of six diverse and connected “things” -- cars, cellphones, commercial transportation and communication systems, home appliances, medical devices, and wearables -- starting to show up in today’s consumer and business marketplaces, respondents, not surprisingly, gave the biggest nod to cell phones (16 percent).

But by far the most popular response, was our tongue-in-cheek “Pick just one? You've got to be kidding,” a viewpoint shared by more than half (52 percent) of all 812 participants. Only a scant 6 percent of our most fearless, less risk-averse community members appear undaunted by the expanding attack surface in this newly hyperconnected world. Their mantra was the option, “Can't wait. Bring 'em all on!”

The most revealing response, though, was the scant few -- representing less than 1 percent -- who say they are “somewhat concerned” about public safety and product security in the not-so-distant-world of connected devices. But they believe that the security industry “can handle the risk.”

Now it’s your turn. Is the security industry up to the IoT challenge? What are your biggest concerns? What role can you, as a security practitioner, play? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Marilyn has been covering technology for business, government, and consumer audiences for over 20 years. Prior to joining UBM, Marilyn worked for nine years as editorial director at TechTarget Inc., where she launched six Websites for IT managers and administrators supporting ... View Full Bio
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Some Guy
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Some Guy,
User Rank: Moderator
9/11/2014 | 3:06:12 PM
Biggest Risk is to First Responders
Governments are more worried about the risks of loss of personally identifiable information than they are for the continuity of systems that support first responders.

That's just wrong. In the former instance, they are going to get sued, in the later, the very fabric of society is at risk (e.g., the Superdome after Katrina). So dispatch centers, comms & command and control systems, fire/police/ambulance in-vehicle systems, and emergency-rooms are the targets that I worry about first.
Marilyn Cohodas
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Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
9/8/2014 | 9:21:41 AM
Re: Biggest risk? No standards!
Standards are definitely a big issue, @Stratustician, not the least of which is getting the manufacturing industry to heed the advice of the security industry. Don A. Bailey from Lab Mouse Security recently blogged for us about his efforts to develop security frameworks for the IoT (See http://www.darkreading.com/vulnerabilities---threats/all-in-for-the-coming-world-of-things/a/d-id/1298209?page_number=2)And he's looking for reviewers.

One particularly tough frameworks issue is the Goldilocks problem of developing a set of standards that is not overly broad or overly narrow. Don wrote: 

Since everyone was essentially using the same model across all verticals to design and deploy Internet of Things technology, a framework became almost too simple. But, there are a lot of unexpected issues with IoT security frameworks. This is not because frameworks or IoT technologies hold bizarre surprises hidden under PCB boards (although some manufactured in certain countries might). It's because the deployment environments for embedded/IoT devices bring unexpected attacks that you would not otherwise see in server or desktop environments.

Stratustician
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Stratustician,
User Rank: Moderator
9/8/2014 | 9:06:15 AM
Biggest risk? No standards!
Well, the good news is that over half realize just about everything is a potential risk when it comes to IoT.  For me, the real risk comes from the fact that many of these connected devices were designed without universal standards so trying to patch security as part of an afterthought is going to reveal some real big headaches.  What we need is a security standard to be created and built into these devices to protect the transmission of information.  Until this piece is figured out, it's probably going to be a bit of an uphill climb for awhile.
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