Monthly Archives: March 2018

IoT: We need to talk about it!

IoT, The Internet of Things has done a lot of great things for consumers and a next level is soon to come. With good, in terms of technology, there are bads as well. IoT has posed new problems in compromising data and becoming harmful. With so many

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devices utilizing the internet, the idea of secure intelligence is becoming a talked about thing these days. The emergence of new devices has created a scurry to fix the IoT, for lack of better words. Only when I started building applications for mobile, did I realize how aggressive IoT has began. When thinking of ways to remotely send and receive data from my devices to my tv’s, etc, I couldn’t help notice how wonderful and stressful the growth will be on us developers would be. Devices are made up of materials and are physical. To think development of safe and adequately planned out software is not important is to end up unprepared like the rest of the world has been, especially after the recent malware hacks have shown vulnerabilities that were honestly in plain sight. The truth is, average companies including manufacturers of IoT devices weren’t ready financially and support wise, to provide additional layers of security on their devices, you would need to have thought about the possibilities ahead of time. In mostly all of the organizations I’ve worked for, I’ve noticed time was always of the essence whereas security was, well, adding ssl on a server. 🙂 Vulnerabilities can and will be found as brilliant minds challenge themselves to out code the code, waiting on an opportunity to take advantage.

The US government has been taking IoT security very seriously as well. There are ideas to regulate and standards have been put in place making manufactures liable for securing and continue patching of equipment and devices for which an individual’s safety is affected per network malfunction. The Gov’t has created a separate office to monitor and protect power grids from network attacks. The seriousness of a solution now is in heavy talks. In case all of this is getting boring, a quick reminder that any device utilizing the internet to operate is part of IoT. From Security Cameras, to Street Signs to Baby Monitors and Cars. The security features to keep your data protected as well as your safety can be compromised and companies aren’t really ready to address the issues. The wait to move on the issue has been detrimental. The fact that a lot of devices have little to no security is alarming, but it’s still a real fact. If we look at what happened in the Malai botnet incident which successfully targeted thousands of security cameras and used them to initiate DDoS attacks amongst popular service providers, we can see the vulnerability possibility do exist and is proven.

IoT is not limited to just small devices, we are seeing the emerge of its implementation in the automotive and healthcare industry as well. Cars that use the internet to control its behavior, can become dangerous, uncontrollable or even a weapon considering an attack on its system. I’ve recently been working in healthcare and pictured the the ability to penetrate a heart monitor or a system that controls a device.

So what does this mean for us developers? Some devices in the IoT may not be smart enough to contribute to a security risk, examples of this are your friendly workout tracker, the FitBit. It’s a harmless device which doesn’t provide much personal data besides your average steps taken in a day and probably your email address, therefore the level of security can be moderate.  Measuring the devices security importance is something companies are continuing to learn. This means that when we are developing for devices using IoT infrastructure, we consider common practices and integrity when formulating in code a what should be secure solutions. It’s important to shift our thinking down to the device level. When developing security in applications that run these things, we are usually developing with a set of tasks in mind. This is good but we need to be able to contribute observations so that we can tighten up the credibility of the product. Software Developers working to build software for IoT devices will need to adapt and help initiate good development procedures that will endure the changing times.

As IoT expands, there will be more challenges to overcome, including user experience, energy consumption, interoperability and release update calibrating to add to the list. Now is the time to continue the talk about how it will affect us on a global scale, how much will it cost and how soon can we fix it.

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