Top Stories

Cisco Pledges $300k For Next Big Thing In Internet of Things Security

Most folks are still trying to figure out what “security” in the context of “The Internet of Things” actually means. But that didn’t stop Cisco Systems from throwing down a challenge to the tech sector: develop security solutions that address problems specific to The Internet of Things and win a cash prize.   In a blog post, Chris Young, a Senior Vice President in Cisco’s Security Group, announced The Internet of Things Security Grand Challenge, saying the contest would offer “visionaries, innovators, and implementers…the opportunity to define a future of a secure IoT,” and pledging up to $300,000 in prizes and awards up to $75,000 for six winners. Cisco has set its sights on the emerging “Internet of Things” in a big way – leveraging its deep roots as a networking infrastructure provider to carriers and enterprises, and ancillary businesses such as set top boxes and low-cost networking equipment for […]


Vulnerabilities Lurking Far And Wide In IoT Ecosystem

The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to revolutionize the way people live and work. But while the media’s attention is focused on high-profile Internet of Things firms like NEST, the smart-home products vendor that Google acquired for more than $3 billion last month, much of the innovation in IoT – at least in the consumer market – is a bottom-up, grass roots phenomenon. Quietly, the combination of ready-made components, point and click development environments and cloud based back end management tools has enabled an army of (mostly) novice developers to assemble novel, connected products for a public enraptured with the idea of using their mobile devices to control something — anything. At the same time, crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have created a platform for products to get funded and distributed to hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of customers – once a monumental task.  That’s great for the […]

Security and The Internet of Things: An RSA Roadmap

The RSA Security Conference starts next week in San Francisco: the central event of a week-long orgy of IT security wheeling and dealing in the Bay Area. Though its roots are as a small and clubby gathering of cryptographers, RSA long ago stopped being that, and started resembling a kind of speed dating event for technology and IT security firms. Sure – there are plenty of interesting talks at RSA, but the important work takes place in private suites of adjoining hotels and chance encounters in the halls of the Moscone. If there’s a big IT security deal in the offing – like IBM’s $1 billion acquisition of Trusteer, or FireEye’s purchase of the firm Mandiant – chances are good that the conversation started at RSA. Long and short: RSA is a snapshot of the security industry at a particular place and time. As such, it tends to be a […]

Update – Virtual Vandalism: Firm Warns Of Connected Home Security Holes

[This story was updated to include response from Belkin describing its response to the vulnerabilities identified by IOActive, including firmware updates. – PFR Feb 19, 2014] A researcher with the respected security firm IOActive says that he has found a number of serious security holes in home automation products from the firm Belkin that could allow remote attackers to use Belkin’s WeMo devices to virtually vandalize connected homes or as a stepping stone to other computers connected on a home network. In a statement released on Tuesday, IOActive researcher Mike Davis said that his research into Belkin’s WeMo technology found the “devices expose users to several potentially costly threats, from home fires with possible tragic consequences down to the simple waste of electricity.” IOActive provided information on Davis’s research to the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT), which issued an advisory on the WeMo issues on Tuesday.  Belkin did not […]

The Show Floor at RSA

Snowden RSA Controversy Just One Of Many Facing Security Industry

In a little more than a week, executives from world’s leading technology firms will gather in San Francisco for the RSA Conference, the cyber security industry’s biggest show in North America. No hacker con, RSA is something akin to corporate speed dating for companies in the security industry. But, like so much else in the technology world, this year’s conference has become mired in controversy stemming from Edward Snowden’s leak of classified documents related to government surveillance. In December, Reuters broke the story that, among the documents leaked by Snowden was evidence that RSA, the security division of EMC and parent company to the conference, accepted a $10m payment from the NSA to implement what turned out to be a vulnerable encryption algorithm as the default option for its BSafe endpoint protection product. RSA, the security division of EMC, has denied the allegations that it accepted the money while knowing that […]