IoT brings risks into factories, communities and homes, GAO warns

Dive Brief:

  • Internet of Things (IoT) technology presents potential rewards and potential risks, including threats to security, privacy and safety, according to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).

  • IoT technology "brings the risks inherent in potentially unsecured information technology systems into homes, factories, and communities," according to the report. The GAO was asked by Congress to conduct a technology assessment of IoT. Ten federal agencies and 12 experts reviewed the draft report.

  • The report details how IoT devices can be compromised in a cyberattack or even hacked in a way that could endanger people.

Dive Insight:

Given the potential proliferation of IoT devices, security needs to be done right. Gartner recently predicted 21 billion IoT devices will be used globally by 2020, outnumbering laptops, smartphone and tablets, and a recent report from Spiceworks found almost 20% of IT pros said they have already deployed IoT devices within their organization while another 40% said they plan to adopt them.

IT experts have warned about poor IoT security for years, but little has been done to improve it yet. IoT devices have recently been used to launch massive DDoS attacks. In response, many organizations are now calling for more built in security from the manufacturers to ensure that malicious actors cannot harness devices for botnets. 

The GAO report may help push the issue of IoT standards, a critical component of the puzzle. Until industry IoT security standards are set and met, large-scale cyberattacks that employ compromised IoT devices will likely persist.

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Filed Under: Security
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