Investigative & Security Professionals for Legislative Action

Homeland Security Report on Internet of Things Security

17 Nov 2016 10:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Prioritizing Internet of Things (IoT) Security

While the benefits of IoT are undeniable, the reality is that security is not keeping up with the pace of innovation. As we increasingly integrate network connections into our nation’s critical infrastructure, important processes that once were performed manually (and thus enjoyed a measure of immunity against malicious cyber activity) are now vulnerable to cyber threats. Our increasing national dependence on network-connected technologies has grown faster than the means to secure it.

The IoT ecosystem introduces risks that include malicious actors manipulating the flow of information to and from network-connected devices or tampering with devices themselves, which can lead to the theft of sensitive data and loss of consumer privacy, interruption of business operations, slowdown of internet functionality through large-scale distributed denial-of-service attacks, and potential disruptions to critical infrastructure.

Last year, in a cyber attack that temporarily disabled the power grid in parts of Ukraine, the world saw the critical consequences that can result from failures in connected systems. Because our nation is now dependent on properly functioning networks to drive so many life-sustaining activities, IoT security is now a matter of homeland security.

Overview of Strategic Principles

Many of the vulnerabilities in IoT could be mitigated through recognized security best practices, but too many products today do not incorporate even basic security measures. There are many contributing factors to this security shortfall. One is that it can be unclear who is responsible for security decisions in a world in which one company may design a device, another supplies component software, another operates the network in which the device is embedded, and another deploys the device. This challenge is magnified by a lack of comprehensive, widely-adopted international norms and standards for IoT security. Other contributing factors include a lack of incentives for developers to adequately secure products, since they do not necessarily bear the costs of failing to do so, and uneven awareness of how to evaluate the security features of competing options.

Below is a link to a 17-page November 15, 2016 report by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security entitled "Strategic Principles for Securing the Internet of Things (IoT). It sets forth ways to organize strategies to address IoT security challenges.



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