Is the Internet of Things a Threat? How Endpoint Protection is Evolving with IoT

Throughout the month of March, G2 Crowd’s research department will share our insights around the topic of big data. Check back here, on the blog and on our social channels to read the latest.

Internet of things (IoT) management software and the IoT in general may be 2017’s most exciting and terrifying venture. New integrations with smart devices and artificial intelligence software are constantly gathering information and bringing IoT closer to home.

In February, a British high school student who goes by the name Stackoverflowin hacked thousands of printers in a single day to “show the internet of things is shit.” Parts of this anecdote should make average citizens concerned with the security of their personal information when it comes to smart devices.

According to this teen, and major players in the IoT market who are already gearing up for cybersecurity threats associated with the IoT, security technology is already more advanced than that of IoT.

“It’s moreso DVRs/routers/printers in the case of the IoT security problem,” Stackoverflowin told Motherboard. “I think the media blows it out of proportion a bit. People are thinking their toasters and shit are getting rooted on a daily basis.”

As the IoT is slowly creeping its way into virtually every industry on the planet, a sort of cybersecurity panic has ensued. Industry-leading experts shared what they believe to be some of the scariest possibilities should IoT security go wrong.

“In 2017, I predict we’ll see at least two polymorphic worms targeting IoT will spread in the wild and be leveraged for widespread DDoS attacks,” Tom Kellermann, VP of security awareness at Core Security Technologies, said. “One of these will be developed by North Korea and it will be used to punish the West via internet outages.”

Other possible threats described were hacks from every sort of device: from washing machines and refrigerators, to truck fleets and government surveillance devices.

“In 2017, I predict we’ll see at least two polymorphic worms targeting IoT will spread in the wild and be leveraged for widespread DDoS attacks.”Tom Kellermann, VP of security awareness at Core Security Technologies

But this speculation on the variety of devices that are threatened did not end the debate. Rather, they brought a sense of assurance and optimism to the security work currently being conducted.

“Security and privacy concerns around IoT will create a situation where governments will push to regulate in a patchwork fashion,” Jason Collins, vice president of IoT marketing at Nokia, said. “They will move to push the regulations into the network where there are more reasonable controls than controlling the end-user devices.”

Some of these regulations have already begun to pop up. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which was passed in 2016 by the European Union, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are already working on behalf of both citizens and technology providers to increase security and control the flow of big data software.

Though improved security and regulations are still a work in progress, experts have repeatedly described the positive economic impact the IoT may provide.

Experts have predicted new jobs will be created in the form of certified security experts for specific devices, not to mention growth in industrial and manufacturing sectors hoping to capitalize on this booming new technology.

In the end, a lot of threats related to IoT are legitimate and must be addressed. But industry leading companies and cybersecurity experts are combating the issues head on, before these threats become a tangible and destructive force.

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