New group set up to combat IoT security threats

New group set up to combat IoT security threats

US think-tank calls for IoT device design to be regulated
US think-tank calls for IoT device design to be regulated

A new working group has been set up to explore ways technology companies and professionals can better protect connected devices and Internet of Things (IoT) services.

Named the Linaro IoT and Embedded Segment Group (LITE), it is being backed by industry giants such as ARM, NXP Semiconductor and Texas Instruments.

They hope to develop a secure platform in a bid to protect connected devices from hackers and other cyber criminals, an increasing concern for the industry.

IoT cyber-crime a concern

According a report from American mobile phone network AT&T, 85 percent of enterprises are currently deploying IoT services and devices into their operations.

However, only 10 percent of the 5,000 firms interviewed in the report said they’re confident that they have the skills and resources to protect their devices from hackers.

But firms are taking action, though. BI Intelligence, the research arm of Business Insider, has found that IoT security spending will make up 30 percent of the cyber industry by 2020.

End-to-end, cross vendor solution

How will LITE help? It’ll focus its initial efforts on creating an end-to-end, cross vendor system that uses ARM’s Cortex-M architecture and Cortex A chips.

Of course, LITE isn’t the first organisation or group set up to combat complex security threats posed to the growing IoT market. But it’s confident that it can reduce fragmentation and produce big results.

Speaking to The Register, George Grey, CEO of the group, said: “Linaro has been very successful in hosting collaboration within the ARM ecosystem to reduce fragmentation and deliver new open source technology into multiple markets.”

The organisation is due to release a beta preview of the platform, which it expects to launch in December of this year. An open-source sensor solution, developed by LITE, is already being demonstrated in Las Vegas.

Security threats must be tackled

Robert Arandjelovic, director of security strategy at Blue Coat, said that although the Internet of Things is bringing loads of new possibilities it’s also introducing complex security challenges. These have to be solved now, he says.

“By connecting virtually everything to the Internet, consumers stand to benefit from unprecedented convenience, manufacturers can find new efficiencies, and health service providers can deliver greater care to their patients,” he tells Internet of Business.

“However, in all of the excitement, security has often taken a backseat. These products were never connected to the internet before, so there was never a need to worry about internet-borne threats, and security capabilities are often forgotten about.

“The potential to hack connected things is already happening, we’ve seen the connected car hack and various reports pointing out the vulnerability of connected hospitals and factories. Unless their suppliers and customers work together to incorporate adequate security measures, we will see many more successful IoT attacks.”

Douglas Crawford, a cyber security specialist from BestVPN, said: “The biggest responsibility for protecting customers’ privacy lies with IoT manufacturers. History has amply demonstrated, however, that trusting technology corporations to self-regulate and respect their customers’ rights is a wildly foolish and unrealistic notion. Regulation could help, but few governments have much appetite for hindering companies’ ability to make profits.”