Internet of Things is rapidly growing, while many new technologies are being invented to assure comfort for human life. But, with billions of new devices coming online, coordinated hacking attacks could become literally a matter of life and death.
Edith Ramirez, addressed the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, she urged companies to enhance privacy and built secure IoT devices by adopting a security-focused approach, reducing the amount of data collected by IoT devices, and increasing transparency and providing consumers with a choice to opt-out of data collection.
Ramirez went on to say that the developers of IoT devices have not spent time thinking about how to secure their devices and services from cyber-attacks. “The small size and limited processing power of many connected devices could inhibit encryption and other robust security measures. Moreover, some connected devices are low-cost and essentially disposable. If a vulnerability is discovered on that type of device, it may be difficult to update the software or apply a patch – or even to get news of a fix to consumers”.
As the IoT market grows, we will see more investment, and as hardware matures, we will get improved security. Chipmakers like Intel and ARM will be keen to offer better security with each new generation, since security could be a market differentiator, allowing them to grab more design wins and gain a bigger share.
First of all IoT chips won’t be big moneymakers since they are tiny and usually based on outdated architectures. Cheap and disposable wearables, which appear to be the market’s greatest concern, won’t be powered by such chips, at least, not anytime soon. Consumers may end up with more powerful processors, such as Intel Atoms or ARMv8 chips, in some smart products, like smart refrigerators or washing machines with touch screens, but they are impractical for disposable devices with no displays and with limited battery capacity.
Selling complete platforms, or reference designs for various IoT devices, could help chipmakers generate more revenue, while at the same time introduce more standardization and security. More the IoT devices are becoming complex, the more security concerns are rising.
The unaddressed security loop holes in these devices are enabling hackers to exploit the devices and conduct data breaches, corporate or government espionage, and damage critical infrastructure like electrical grids.
It seems that capable hackers are everywhere, and their growing focus on the IoT is a natural progression since they are looking to where the world’s data is flowing. The interconnected world is coming, but so are its hackers.