IoT gadgets to be vetted for security

30 tech firms team up to poke holes in smart devices to beef up IoT security

security

From hacked connected baby monitors to disabled brakes on smart cars, the Internet of Things clearly has a security problem - and the tech industry is finally teaming up to address it.

More than 30 tech industry leaders including BT and Intel have joined forces to build the Internet of Things Security Foundation, which will examine devices for security flaws before they go to market.  

"We want to make it safe to connect," John Moor, from the NMI industry group that helped launch the group, told the BBC. "That's what we are imploring our members to do."

He added: "It's a bit like the aviation industry - when it began, it had to reassure people it was safe to fly."

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The IoT Security Foundation isn't the first to try to secure smart homes and other connected devices. Various frameworks have aimed to build in security at the design stage, while BuildItSecure.ly offers pro-bono security help to smaller IoT startups and BT offers an IoT hacking service to hunt for flaws

The news was welcomed by some in the industry, including Mike Weston, CEO of data science consultancy Profusion.  

"This is great news for businesses seeking to build products for the Internet of Things," he said. "By seeking to create a minimum standard for security this body will help to safeguard peoples' data and create a level playing field for technology companies.

However, he warned that vetting devices wasn't enough - protecting security means being respectful of user privacy, too. 

"We have to remember that the IoT has the capacity to capture an unprecedented amount of data on consumers," he said. "Given that so many devices could be connected there are real risks to data security. Vetting devices will help to reduce this risk, however, companies working with these devices should also make moves to create ethical standards in relation to how they use data and inform consumers. Maintaining consumer trust is key to making the IoT a success."  

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