CES 2017: Cultivating a New IoT Cybersecurity Crop

January 26, 2017 @ 10:00 AM
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2 min read

The biggest problem with the Internet of Things (IoT) is security. As noted by Wired, IoT cybersecurity is still rooted in 20th-century methodology, making the new market a tempting target for motivated fraudsters.

Thankfully, both startups and established security companies seem to be getting the message. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017, one of the industry’s biggest annual events, showcased a number of new IoT security products that can help cultivate a more proactive protection environment.

How Much Is Too Much?

Scalability is the biggest challenge for IoT security, according to Wired. While it was once typical for large enterprises to manage 50,000 endpoints, this number has already skyrocketed into the hundreds of thousands. Before long, even small companies will break the million-endpoint mark.

For malicious actors, this represents the ideal opportunity. Millions of available attack vectors, many of which are running default security, can be easily compromised for back-end access. Even more worrisome, multiple IoT device can be arranged into larger botnets to carry out massively chaotic DDoS attacks and take down major internet providers.

Even if devices are secured, the lack of recognized standards results in limited interoperability and functionality, meaning each endpoint is an island unto itself. How much IoT functionality is too much? Should companies scale back IoT adoption?

Promising Developments

Often a bellwether for upcoming trends in technology, CES 2017, held in Las Vegas earlier this month, featured a heavy focus on IoT cybersecurity. As noted by Forbes, the show included a slew of announcements from companies looking to carve out their own niches in the IoT security space and help consumers defend themselves against more sophisticated endpoint attacks.

Symantec’s Norton Core, for example, provides mobile access to home network security systems, allowing users to check which threats are currently blocked or turn off their broadband overnight.

Dojo by BullGuard, meanwhile, was initially built as an enterprise-grade security device but has been reimagined as a home network defender. This small, pebble-like device changes color when connections are under attack.

Companies like Cujo are taking a different track, creating smart firewalls that connect to routers upstream of internet-facing home devices to prevent attacks. And there were many more innovative new technologies on display.

CES 2017 Lays the Groundwork for IoT Security

According to The Hill, these and other new CES offerings speak to market forces at work in the IoT space. While cybersecurity represents a huge threat for consumers and companies alike, startups and security firms have a big incentive to develop secure products and render current attack methods obsolete. New ones will emerge to take their place, but with most malicious actors opting for speed over effort, pushing back is often enough to send them packing.

What’s more, developments at CES 2017 laid the groundwork for more robust enterprise applications and the adoption of industrywide standards. Once a threat or opportunity outgrows its niche, developers must work together or risk being sidelined as obsolete.

IoT threats are on the radar, with new consumer products designed to address the growing issues with smart homes and device-heavy households. There’s fertile ground here — security-rich soil that should yield a new crop of corporate-ready IoT cybersecurity solutions.

Douglas Bonderud
Freelance Writer

A freelance writer for three years, Doug Bonderud is a Western Canadian with expertise in the fields of technology and innovation. In addition to working for...
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