Dashboard’s commentary on “The IoTrojan Horse – an army of toasters”

 In Commentary

The one major factor holding back IoT is security concerns and standards that come in the wake of it. As devices become smarter and have more conformable ability to connect, their firewall systems aren’t always up to date and cyber attacks are a reality of the modern society. Hacking into devices, stealing confidential data and breaking into secure systems is a looming threat that worries users as well as producers and government officials.

The more technology is employed in everyday life, the more it is seen as a risk to safety. A great example of such a breach is the recent DNS attack that happened just over a week ago. Mirai, a malware that hacked into various IoT devices, e.g. CCTV cameras, routers and DVRs, caused millions of Internet-enabled gadgets to launch a DDoS attack against Dyn, an Internet infrastructure company that serves some of the biggest Internet platforms. Companies like Amazon, Spotify and Netflix experienced significant problems in relation to keeping their websites up, which is worth noticing – these are the world’s largest companies that have state-of-the-art security systems, yet they couldn’t defend themselves well enough to prevent outages.

As Dashboard Limited’s CEO Piers Corfield recently wrote, the need to address the security concerns is inherent – but there is also reason to look at interoperability in terms of lack of stable cybersecurity. “Large operators spanning industrial monitoring, network hardware, software and pretty much everything else have placed their commercial objectives ahead of the needs of their customers,” he says, continuing to express his views on how companies attempt to monopolise their consumer base through a “lock in” strategy. Such behaviour is not only “perpetuating this situation to the detriment of economies, companies and individuals (except those lining their pockets at the cynical expense of others)” but also disrupts the open source models and standards that benefit all parties. Corfield also importantly states that “there have always been Ludites, but the answer to the intrinsic risks of connected devices is hardly a coherent argument for fragmentation, disconnection and isolationism,” which addresses the root of the problem for web safety.

BBC very recently reported (hyperlink here to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-37821867 ) that the UK government is planning on spending nearly £2 billion on cybersecurity. This is a part of the government’s plan to not only ensure safe private browsing, but to make UK into “the best place in the world to be a tech business”, starting from basic requirements. Although not intended as one, the plan is a becoming solution/response to dangers like the DNS attack discussed earlier and is met with many expectations. Partly spent on security-based start ups it will also inspire innovation to tackle cyber threats in the private sector, which is an opportunity for Corfield’s mentioned collaboration to deliver best efforts against viruses.

So while the government is appointing more funding and attention to cybersecurity, it is also the responsibility of providers to guarantee safety in services and devices alike. Interoperability is key if the producers wish to ward off any hacks and malware like Mirai and cooperation and openness should be encouraged in company strategies to the maximum, surpassing client control. This way the IoT transformation will bring about solutions rather than more problems to be solved, leading to happier, safer consumers and citizens.

To see Piers Corfield’s full commentary, please see here (hyperlink here to: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/iotrojan-horse-army-toasters-bill-montgomery?deepLinkCommentId=6198442634470518784&anchorTime=1477823885560&trk=hb_ntf_MEGAPHONE_LIKE_TOP_LEVEL_COMMENT )

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