The Security Dilemma Of IoT Devices And Potential Consequences
HWM Singapore|January 2021
Over the last decade, we have experienced a surge in consumer-grade connected products – from thermostats and kitchen appliances to baby monitors and smart bulbs.
Tim Mackey

While these are great additions for consumers, the convenience of a connected world can come with a trade-off in security and privacy. Hackers are finding more ways to gain access to personal information by exploiting weaknesses in everyday devices.

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH CONNECTED DEVICES?

Let’s say, you just bought a new fancy smart internet-connected refrigerator.

Typically, a fridge should last for about ten years or so. This is a reasonable expectation that consumers have for such a large purchase. It’s rare for hardware, like that in a refrigerator, to need regular updates. Software on the other hand, often needs updating – a situation the manufacturer may not fully account for over the lifespan of their device. In other words, they know how to make hardware work (the fridge) very well, but they may not be accustomed to thinking about how software (the smart capabilities) works.

The cybersecurity issues that we all live with today and that can be fixed with an app update or something that’s being pushed out may not necessarily be a priority within the executive teams at hardware companies. However, what does it mean to have designed something ten years ago to the best practices of ten years ago, but now need to deal with today’s cyber threats?

MANUFACTURERS NEED TO BUILD SECURITY INTO THEIR IOT DEVICES

Manufacturers of smart IoT devices must understand that when designing a product, they should take into consideration the velocity of privacy expectations, especially if the hardware is expected to have a very long lifespan.

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