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Known Security Vulnerabilities Are a Hacker's Guide to an IoT Breach

The Internet of Things is a powerful trend, but its growth could be hindered by unpatched open-source vulnerabilities.
By Tae Jin (TJ) Kang
Nov 17, 2017

While there is still more than another month left before the end of the year, we should consider 2017 a year of historic hacking. While incomplete, this year has been tainted with numerous hacking incidents, including WannaCry, Petya and Cloudbleed. Of course, the most significant hack of the year, to date, was the Equifax data breach, which exposed the personal data of nearly 148 million people.

The bad guys are really good at what they do. And they are winning.

While phishing schemes continue to catch unaware users, the truly disturbing hacks—and the costliest this year—are those that take advantage of known security vulnerabilities.

That's right. The IT teams and managed service providers (MSP) responsible for guarding the systems from hackers are failing to address what should, at first blush, be a fairly easy correction: namely, patching known security vulnerabilities.

The IoT Is a Potentially Much Larger Issue
The growth and proliferation rates of IoT devices—used by industry, consumers and governments—are significant. According to a 2017 Boston Consulting Group report, the market for IoT products and services is expected to reach $267 billion by 2020. The organization estimates that by that same year, half of IoT spending will be driven by the transportation and logistics, discrete manufacturing and utilities industries. Additionally, according to Gartner, there will be an estimated 20.4 billion IoT-connected components worldwide by 2020.

While tens of billions of dollars are spent annually to secure computing, telephony and banking networks, a PwC survey reports that less than 28 percent of polled companies have begun to deploy the added security needed to guard against the increased risk of cyber-attacks on IoT networks.

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