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Internet of Things Security: Most Early-entry IoT Devices have Weak Security at Best

By Dick Weisinger

The IoT security market is expected to grow from $6.89 billion to $28.90 billion by 2020, according to Markets and Markets.  Gartner, Inc. estimates 4.9 billion “Things” will be used this year and that should reach 25 billion by 2020.

While growth in the market is explosive, many worry about the security of the devices.  The FBI released a report that warns consumers that putting any of these devices on the Internet is very risky.  The FBI report warns of UPnP vulnerabilities, unchanged default passwords, denial-of-service attacks, and can potentially even result in physical harm.  The warning applies to a wide variety of devices, including  closed-circuit TVs to Wi-Fi, thermostats, garage doors, smart appliances, office equipment, TVs, and home healthcare and medical products.

The FBI report found that “deficient security capabilities and difficulties for patching vulnerabilities in these devices, as well as a lack of consumer security awareness, provide cyber actors with opportunities to exploit these devices.  Criminals can use these opportunities to remotely facilitate attacks on other systems, send malicious and spam e-mails, steal personal information, or interfere with physical safety.”

Shankar Somasundaram, senior director of Internet of Things Security at Symantec, said that “as IoT innovation and adoption continues to grow, so has the opportunity for new cybersecurity risks. This is the next frontier. In the automotive industry, hackers can literally steer the car and ‘hit the brakes’ from their keyboards.”

The main problem is that vendors are trying to rush products to market without taking the time to consider security.  An HP Fortify study found, for example that 100 percent of smartwatches tested had significant vulnerabilities.  A study by Rapid7 looked at the security of baby monitors and found that of the ten products selected, all failed except one product that scored a “D”.

 

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