Protecting Our Devices and Ourselves in a Connected World

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You’re probably aware that IoT security is a hot topic at the moment. Just a couple weeks have passed since an organized DDoS attack using the Mirai botnet basically took down the internet, cutting off service to big-name sites like Netflix, Spotify, and Twitter.

The attack was something of a wakeup call to either those who have been designing and producing IoT devices with lackluster security or those who never even considered the security of the IoT devices they’ve purchased – the conversation on implementing security into connected devices has definitely grown louder, though perhaps there has been more talk than action. But that’s not to say that there has been no action at all.

In response to these attacks and the increasingly obvious need for defense mechanisms against them, Imperva and Rapid7 have built scanners that allow users to verify if connected devices are infected or at risk of infection by Mirai malware. If a device is vulnerable or already infected, a message will indicate the IP address hosting those devices, and users will then be able to log into the devices connected to the network and create a stronger password, thereby decreasing the likelihood their devices will be used in a botnet like Mirai.

While the solutions offered by Imperva and Rapid7 are handy safeguards towards preventing future DDoS attacks, they do not guarantee immunity, and they are very much reactive when we should be proactive. Security is something manufacturers need to take into consideration at the very beginning of the design process if we really want to steel ourselves against botnet attacks. Fortunately, certain innovators have stepped up to the plate in this regard.

The OPTIGA™ Trust products from Infineon include a wide array of security chips for embedded authentication, and CryptoAuthentication Devices from Atmel/Microchip feature highly secure hardware-based key storage. Both of these options allow designers to build in security from the get-go, which is a much more reliable defense against being taken over and used in DDoS attacks like the one orchestrated through the Mirai botnet.

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The sooner we recognize just how crucial IoT security actually is, the sooner we can integrate and take full advantage of smart technology without fear of the internet and our connected world crashing down around us. Imperva and Rapid7 have made a solid effort at helping us protect ourselves in the realm of IoT, and their solutions will hopefully be a motivator to others in this promising yet precarious industry.

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