Why Today’s IoT = Insecurity of Things

Embedded Software

smart-wall-displayWhenever I walk into an electronics store, I am surprised at the sheer number of devices that are prefixed by the word “smart,” which seem to be doubling at an alarming rate. Televisions, egg crates, thermostats, light bulbs, refrigerators—pretty much anything with a power supply seems to have achieved sentience overnight.

How? you ask. Well, as far as I can tell the formula seems to be constant: old device + Wi-Fi connectivity + optional app (doubles as remote) = “smart.” But, how—we wonder—does that make the device any smarter?

Devices are now connected and they are phoning home to update their software, upload bug reports, and provide you with those “genius”-grade services.

The issue is that connecting these devices to an otherwise secure network is basically like opening the gates of Troy and rolling in a big wooden horse. These devices have absolutely no security, because in the rush to jump on the “smart” bandwagon, security isn’t a priority and to be honest, the people who built TVs and refrigerators never had to worry about security before.

computer safety concept, trojan horse in electronic environment.As popular tech blog, The Verge, noted in a recent article about a smart device that was thankfully pulled from the shelves after experts publicly criticized its lack of security: “It’s insanely easy to manufacture an internet-connected device, yet is immensely difficult to build a secure one.”

That insecure device is only the tip of the iceberg.

Take the same problem and apply it to everything that’s become connected over the past five years. The scale is massive, as the Internet of Things (IoT) is pretty much the term for all those devices that have suddenly connected and literally found themselves naked on the Internet super highway.

We work with a fair number of manufacturers in sectors like healthcare, automotive and consumer electronics providing them with a full range of managed security services including development lifecycle, vulnerability management, risk mapping, remediation, and response. This allows our clients to focus on the business of building better heart monitors, better cars and better connected devices while we keep them “BlackBerry Secure”.

Developing visionary products takes skill and decades of dedication. Making those products secure is no different. Send us an email at BlackBerry’s Advanced Assurance division and visit BlackBerry.com’s page on our professional cybersecurity services, and let us arrange a showcase of our services for you. Much like the first time you built something amazing, we’re proud of our work and we would love to share it with you.

About Nader Henein

A staunch advocate of Data Protection and Privacy, Nader brings over two decades of tactical experience in the architecture, development and management of secure, scalable systems. He has worked in a wide range of organizations from startups to multinationals allowing for both depth and breadth of experience focused on enabling business without compromise of corporate security or individual privacy. Today, his role hinges on providing solutions to current challenges faced by BlackBerry’s strategic customers in banking, governance, security and beyond.

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