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OPLIN 4cast #436: IoT security

Posted in 4cast

graphAs more and more specialized electronic devices automatically connect to Wi-Fi wherever they can find a node, comprising the so-called Internet of Things (IoT), the people who install and maintain wireless access points in libraries will encounter more and more concerns. For one thing, designing a wireless network for the IoT requires a shift in thinking, from providing big bandwidth for a few devices that patrons are using to “read” the Internet, to providing small bandwidth for a multitude of devices that they happen to be wearing in the library. But an even larger concern may be network security, since many of these devices have been designed with little or no thought given to protections against hacking and viruses.

  • Internet of Crappy Things (Kaspersky blog | Alex Drozhzin)  “In general, the problem is that those who develop home appliances and make them connected face realities of a brand new world they know nothing about. They ultimately find themselves in a situation similar to that of an experienced basketball player sitting through a chess match with a real grand master. Things get even worse when it comes to the users of connected devices. They don’t bother with security at all. For an average user, a connected microwave is still just a microwave. A user would never imagine it is a fully-equipped connected computer which has means of influencing the physical world.”
  • Prepping WLANs for the Internet Of Things (Network Computing | Marcia Savage)  “IoT security is a top concern, [director of product marketing at Aerohive Networks Abby] Strong said. Oftentimes the devices have custom operating systems, so antivirus can’t simply be installed on them. ‘There are few best practices for how to handle IoT systems,’ she said. ‘And absolutely no standardization. The industry doesn’t even know what the risks are yet.’”
  • Are we creating an insecure Internet of Things (IoT)? Security challenges and concerns (Toptal | Nermin Hajdarbegovic)  “[Federal Trade Commission chairwoman Edith] Ramirez went on to say that developers of IoT devices have not spent time thinking about how to secure their devices and services from cyberattacks. ‘The small size and limited processing power of many connected devices could inhibit encryption and other robust security measures,’ said Ramirez. ‘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.’”
  • ‘Internet of Things’ gets watchdog: Report calls for extra security to prevent hacking of smart gadgets in homes (Daily Mail | Victoria Woollaston)  “Last year, the FTC studied 12 mobile fitness apps and found they shared data with 76 separate entities. Ms Ramirez continued: ‘If I’m wearing a fitness band that tracks how many calories I consume I wouldn’t want to share that data with an insurance company.’ The FTC report made no specific legislative recommendation for IoT but said ‘there appeared to be widespread agreement that companies developing IoT products should implement reasonable security.’”

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