Say ‘technology monoculture’ and most people (who don’t look at you cross-eyed or say ‘God bless you!’) will say “Microsoft” or “Windows” or “Microsoft Windows.” That makes sense. Windows still runs on more than 90% of all desktop systems, long after Redmond’s star is rumored to have dimmed next to that of Apple. Microsoft is the poster child for the dangers and benefits of a monoculture. Hardware makers and application developers have a single platform to write to – consumers have confidence that the software and hardware they buy will “just work” so long as they’re running some version of Windows. The downside, of course, is that the Windows monoculture has also been a boon to bad guys, who can tailor exploits to one operating system or associated application (Office, Internet Explorer) and be confident that 9 of 10 systems their malicious software encounters will at least be running some version of the […]
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I came across an interesting post over on Wearable World News today titled “The Danger of Smart Spam In the Internet of Things.” The article, by Jessica Groopman, ran yesterday and provides a kind of conceptual overview of the security and IoT space. I think Goodman gets it mostly right: she talks about the proliferation of device types and platforms that will (or already does) characterize the Internet of Things. With hundreds of billions (compared with hundreds of millions) of Internet connected endpoints, cyber criminals, hacktivists and other bad actors have an even greater ability to create armies of compromised endpoints and harness their collective power in attacks. Goodman also gets it right when she notes that many “smart” devices run commodity operating systems like Linux and don’t require lots of special effort to reverse engineer. Finally, IoT devices frequently are low power and embedded systems that lack the processing […]
Networking equipment giant Cisco Systems said that it is combining elements of the open source Linux operating system to its IOS firmware, launching a new architecture it calls “IOx” that will connect the billions of intelligent devices that will make up the Internet of Things. The new architecture was announced at Distributech in San Antonio – a trade show for the utility industry, on Wednesday. The company said IOx will make it easier for its customers to connect Internet of Things devices to back-end resources and the larger Internet. As it stands, the Internet of Things ecosystem is fragmented. Intelligent devices like the Nest Thermostat typically communicate back to proprietary cloud resources and might communicate with their surroundings using any one of a number of wireless protocols, including Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, Zigbee, Z-Wave, and so on. That balkanization has made it hard to create IoT solutions that span different families […]
It’s another day, another face-palm moment for the home surveillance camera industry. Just one month after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) settled a complaint with the maker of SecurView, a line of poorly secured home surveillance cameras, a researcher at the firm Duo Security has found a slew of even more serious security holes in the IZON Camera – a popular product that is sold in Apple Stores and Best Buy, among others. A review by The Security Ledger found dozens of such systems accessible via the public Internet, in some cases allowing anyone to peer into the interiors of private residences and businesses. Mark Stanislav, the Security Evangelist at the firm Duo Security, presented the details of a security audit of the IZON camera at a security conference in New York on Tuesday. Stanislav documented troubling security lapses including a wide-open configuration with exposed ports for accessing the device […]
Cisco Systems is one of the biggest ecosystem players with its eyes trained on the Internet of Things. This makes sense. After all, the company made its fortune selling the gear – routers and switches – that make the Internet hum, and that helped extend Internet connectivity to homes and businesses. Along the way, Cisco has been aggressive about acquiring new and promising technologies that promise to grow its top line. took some bad turns – unsuccessfully branching into consumer electronics in 2009 with the acquisition of Pure Digital, maker of the Flip camcorder, and Linksys, a maker of home networking gear, in 2003. The company discontinued the Flip product and sold Linksys to Belkin earlier this year amid a major corporate shake-up designed to re-focus the company. Now, with the next wave (Cisco calls it the 4th) of Internet connectivity upon us – namely: the “Internet of Things” (or […]