The IoT Security Revolution is Upon Us

It is a long-known fact that most IoT manufacturers neglect IoT security while designing their devices and machines. If you are still amongst those who do not hold this view point, please join our webinar showing just how easy it is to brute-force IP security cameras by using hacking methods that are practically as old as those used in the 90’s. I also recommend catching up on the 2015 Jeep hack and the St. Jude Cardiac Devices hacks that started occurring in 2014. These hacks prove that even companies dedicated to life-saving technologies, often neglect to produce the necessary security measures to go with them.

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While attending BlackHat 2018, I saw a few jaw-dropping demonstrations. One of these demonstrations was on ATM break-ins. Typically, one might expect a machine containing money to have a more robust security system protecting the cash therein; and yet, the machines were broken into. Additionally, I attended demonstrations of hacks into crucial medical devices and medical networks that are instrumental in keeping people alive.

It was astonishing to find out that companies manufacturing medical devices such as implants, insulin therapy devices (radio-based devices) and pacemakers, completely ignore current security research. One example for this research is the extraordinary work done by Billy Rios & Jonathan Butts (in their free time I might add) in which they discovered many IoT vulnerabilities. This research will no doubt make our world a much safer place.

It was no less appalling to discover the deep contrasts existing between cloud security standards and IoT security standards; or rather, the lack-thereof. Cloud-based enterprises are applying major security standards such as SOC2 to ensure the security of cloud infrastructure and turning certain working procedures into the standard requirement for all. Simultaneously, when it comes to IoT devices, we are living in the proverbial wild west. There are currently no official industry security standards for IoT. In the healthcare industry physicians prescribing the use of these devices have no understanding of their lack of security and I don’t believe that they should be required to have it. However, at this point in time, it is a life-preserving piece of information to know that these devices have feeble security mechanisms in place and are therefore targeted for hacks.

All of this is taking a positive turn as Ijay Palansky, an attorney, stated in his presentation at BlackHat; with the first IoT related lawsuit being launched against Jeep, following the vulnerability discovered back in 2015 that had allowed a remote attacker to control the car’s steering and brakes.

The impressive aspect of this lawsuit is that while no car was damaged or controlled by the attackers beyond the proof-of-concept, there is still a legal bases on which to build the case. Even if FCA US LLC (Jeep’s brand owner) were able to successfully defend itself as far as the damage caused, this case will cause tremendous damage to the company in reputation and in dollars lost.

This lawsuit should be viewed as a striking warning sign for companies manufacturing IoT devices while ignoring security vulnerabilities. This practice will no longer go unnoticed. Manufacturers will have to take responsibility for securing these devices or face the consequences. Hopefully, we are at the beginning of a new security revolution for IoT devices, leading eventually to a healthier and device-secured world.

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