As the Internet of Things continues to grow, delving further into every corner of our markets and societies, the ability to secure it from malevolent attackers and massive data-breaches will become more vital towards its survival. Today’s IoT security landscape is a confused mess, with vulnerabilities running rampant and paltry little being done to make it more secure. So how can IoT experts and tech enthusiast alike contribute to a safer IoT?
The answer lies in patchable software. By embracing more industry standards and fostering the greater implementation of patchable software, IoT enthusiast can ensure that this much-beloved connectivity phenomenon lives on to serve us for years to come.
Finding the gaps in IoT security
If IoT-lovers want to make it secure, their first step should be properly identifying its largest vulnerabilities. Currently, it’s hard to make an argument that the grossly unpatchable nature of the IoT isn’t its biggest threat; few things confound security experts more than the unwieldy mess of pre-programed, unpatchable devices and software currently on the market. This presents a serious dilemma to security practitioners; not only is the IoT fundamentally unsecure, but it’s all but impossible to fix its vulnerabilities in its existing form.
A new generation of patchable gadgets and software, such as Kidgy, is then needed for the IoT to endure. Already, smaller programs have sprung up from the initiative of tech-enthusiast around the country, but a broader approach, ideally one led by government regulators and tech-behemoths working in tandem, is desperately needed. Until the biggest fish in the pond realize that our current pattern of releasing unpatchable programs and hardware is fixed, the IoT will continue to suffer massive data breaches that plague companies and consumers alike.
Of course, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to the business-savvy that the current generation of IoT gadgets is defined by their inability to be patched; the producers of these gadgets and software stand to make much more money if they can churn our unsecure products, and would shoulder the brunt of the cost if more stringent regulations were imposed. If securing the IoT is our goal, however, that additional cost must be suffered, or our current security vulnerabilities will only grow in scope.
Building a better IoT
Instilling universal standards in the IoT market, such as more secure hardware architecture and comprehensive auditing, will go a long way towards closing the largest gaps. If a top down approach isn’t taken, however, and industry standards aren’t reshaped to put more of a premium on security and the ability to patch devices and software once they’ve hit the market, little progress will be made.
Ultimately, some of the cost of securing the IoT will fall onto consumers. To expect companies to create more patchable software without simultaneously raising prices is ludicrous. An increased price tag that comes with better security standards won’t cost businesses too much, though; consumers have already made it clear they want better security for their devices, and would be willing to pay for it.
If businesses that rely on the IoT for their survival don’t want to be left behind when the regulations are inevitably written, they would be wise to start petitioning lawmakers now to get a head start on building a more patchable and thus more secure IoT. Implementing higher security standards from the production line all the way down to the retail shelf, and even considering how to provide better security for gadgets and software once they’re in consumer’s homes and products, will go a long way towards clamping down on data breaches and winning customer’s trust.
Rather than waiting for the next hack or DDOS to send their IT and PR teams scattering for solutions, today’s IoT companies should prepare now for a more expensive and secure future. The fate of the IoT is in the hands of those who develop its products and the software that makes them tick; without action taken on the side of industry to make IoT devices more patchable, today’s plague of data breaches and product recalls will continue unabated until producers are bogged down by the cost and controversy generated by a vulnerable IoT. Better to start early, and make a better IoT for everyone.
This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?