Cybersecurity in the IoT Generation

  • September 1, 2017

    Year over year, gadgets dominate holiday sales. From Fitbits to Echos to modern children’s toys, our beloved technologies keep us perpetually connected to the internet. Major tech companies from Microsoft to Google to Amazon introduce hot devices every year that consumers just can’t get enough of. These technologies enhance our personal and professional lives and majorly contribute to Silicon Valley’s bottom line.

    While we now possess unprecedented access to information and entertainment, we also put ourselves at risk. In the workplace, cybersecurity is often part of the daily conversation. We routinely change passwords, we operate within company firewalls and we restrict access to certain websites. How about at home? What about our fun, intelligent gadgets?

    IoT and Cybersecurity

    With the pervasiveness of IoT in our everyday lives, our virtual protection has significantly diminished. Think about how many of your smart devices connect directly to bank accounts, credit cards and personal information.

    Each month we hear about major cyberattacks. In May it was the WannaCry ransomware attack that infected Microsoft software in over 150 countries. In June, NotPetya cost companies hundreds of millions as it halted operations globally. This summer, HBO endured a series of hacks leaking insider information and scripts from its hit series Game of Thrones.  

    Internet of Things Act

    Washington is concerned. By design, government moves slower than the private sector. Legislation often solves problems after the fact versus preventing them. With this issue, there’s a sense of urgency. The Internet of Things Act 2017 primarily aims to protect national security. The legislation requires that companies implement cybersecurity standards for devices with connectivity capabilities sold to the government. The bipartisan bill is spearheaded by Cory Gardner (R-CO), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

    Forbes reports that lawmakers see a growing trend amongst government agencies utilizing IOT devices- including the Department of State and the Department of Defense. Representatives in Washington care about protecting citizens from identity theft and hacking. However, they’re a lot more concerned about global cyberwarfare. Current vulnerabilities in IoT devices could present devastating consequences for the country.

    While this bill focuses specifically on government procurement, it could benefit all of us. Given the purchasing power of the government, it might move the needle for increased protection on all IoT devices further protecting the American public.

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