CANCUN, Mexico – There’s a running joke regarding connected gadgets and the internet of things: “The ‘S’ in IoT stands for security.” And yes, I’m aware there’s no “S” in IoT.
Oleg Šelajev, a lead developer for Oracle Labs, coined the phrase in 2016, and it pops up almost every time researchers find security flaws with a connected device. And it happens a lot. Think security cameras. Or toys. Or smart locks.
IoT Cybersecurity Will Be Covered Extensively at IoT TechConnect April 4 at the Troy Marriott. To attend, click on IoT TechConnect
Yet homes, businesses and facilities are stocking up on more and more connected devices, the idea being to make people’s lives easier. The IoT sector is expected to grow to 20.4 billion devices by 2020, and businesses are expected to spend $134 billion annually by 2022 just on cybersecurity for IoT devices, according to Juniper Research.
But more connected devices means more potential vulnerabilities. And the security of these devices hasn’t gotten much better. Researchers have been warning about this issue for years, but the number of threats is only getting worse. The real problem is that no one’s listening.
“We demonstrated problems last year,” Denis Makrushin, a Kaspersky Lab researcher, said at his company’s Security Analyst Summit in Cancun, Mexico, earlier this month. “This year, it’s the same problems, but now with huge numbers.”
Even more distressing is the bigger threat to the more than 8.4 billion IoT devices already available today — especially as security vulnerabilities in old devices keep popping up. So even as politicians and the tech industry look to address this for new products, it’s the legacy gadgets that could prove most vulnerable. It was one of the key themes at the Kaspersky conference, where researchers exposed vulnerabilities affecting decades-old gas pumps, robots in malls and smart cameras for homes.
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