Opinion: How to fix an internet of broken things

Publication Type: 
Other Writing
Publication Date: 
October 26, 2016

The massive distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attack that paralyzed much of the web last week focused a bright spotlight on insecurities in the so-called Internet of Things.

That attack took advantage of rampant insecurities in gadgets such as web cams, which were corralled into a vast botnet that unleashed the DDoS on the tech company Dyn, which provides a core piece of internet infrastructure. (Click here to find out everything you need to know about the botnet.) 

While the rise of smart products holds the promise to revolutionize business and society, the burning question now is whether security can scale alongside the fast pace of innovation. The market for internet-connected devices is growing so quickly that Samsung recently announced that all of its products would be connected to the Internet by 2020. 

There's a way of developing connected gadgets that aren't easily susceptible to outside attack, that have more security protections, and are designed with security in mind. But it'll take more pressure on industry to make sure that happens. 

First, we need more cooperation amongst stakeholders including information sharing within defined boundaries, along with graduated sanctions being in place for rule breakers. The auto industry Information Sharing and Analysis Center  (ISAC) is one example of this approach that should be replicated in other IoT sectors. 

Second, we should set standards for IoT devices. One model is the National Institute for Standards and Technology's (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework , along with its work on Cyber-Physical Systems. Over time, these standards could help establish a standard of IoT cybersecurity care , including new approaches to proactive cybersecurity  measures.

Read the full piece at The Christian Science Monitor