- The Federal Trade Commission is asking the public to help it come up with a solution to combat Internet of Things security vulnerabilities through a new competition.
- The competition, dubbed the IoT Home Inspector Challenge, includes prizes up to $25,000 for the best solution. This the FTC’s first public contest addressing IoT issues.
- Submissions are due May 22, and winners will be announced in late July. An expert panel of five judges will judge the contest, according to the FTC.
Private companies have been holding public "bug bounty" programs for years, and the concept of engaging the public to help solve major tech security challenges now appears to be catching on in the federal government as well.
Last year, the Department of Defense held the "Hack the Pentagon" program, which invited pre-approved security researchers to find potential security flaws in five DOD websites. The Pentagon handed out $70,000 in rewards, after 1,400 participating researchers discovered nearly 140 bugs during the contest, and quickly announced plans to expand the program.
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. IT experts have warned about poor IoT security for years, but little has been done to improve it until now.
Gartner recently predicted 21 billion IoT devices will be used globally by 2020, outnumbering laptops, smartphone and tablets.