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Report: Urgent action needed to tame ‘Wild West’ of IoT

A recent report by Scrutinise Research and Analysis finds that immediate action is required to avert potentially disastrous security breaches of connected devices by cyber terrorists and criminals in the current “Wild West” of the Internet of Things (IoT). The report, “Securing the Internet of Things,” recommends a four-pronged approach to prevent security breaches of IoT devices that could have wide reaching consequences:

  1. Manufacturers should build security into their products at the outset, with appropriate commercial incentives.
  2. Consumers must be educated about the importance of security and how to keep devices and personal data safe.
  3. Industry associations and vendors need to agree on internationally acceptable IoT security standards and best practice.
  4. Governments should ensure that regulation encompasses the security of the evolving IoT landscape, and provide for and implement penalties for non-compliance.

The report, published jointly with Ilex Content Strategies, notes that there are no specific IoT security standards or regulations currently in place, leading to a “Wild West” situation where security is at risk of being compromised. The report features comments from industry experts from the IoT Security Foundation, the GSMA, Cisco Systems and Trustonic, among others.

“Given that the proliferation of connected devices goes way beyond smartphones and home entertainment to include medical equipment, connected cars and even power plants, urgent action is needed to improve the security of these devices to ensure we are not vulnerable to those who might seek to exploit current weaknesses,” says Sacha Kavanagh, co-founder and senior analyst at Scrutinise. “Everyone in the IoT ecosystem shares a responsibility to improve security.”

The report details how more partnerships and collaborations between tech firms on both the equipment and service sides of the fence are needed, as well as with manufacturers in other industries that will become part of the IoT supply chain.

“It’s great to be tackling some of the big technology issues that have the potential to shape our society and the way we live for years to come,” says Lucia Barbato, director, Ilex Content Strategies. “The IoT has moved beyond hype but how it is used is still evolving. A consumer education program will be needed to make sure that devices and data remain safe. Likewise, we anticipate governments will need to incentivize manufacturers to build security into their devices as part of any regulatory framework.”

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