Mobile Security and the Internet of Things

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The dawning age of the “Internet of things” will see connectivity come to a wide variety of gadgets and services. Of course, that surge of new devices will usher in an unpredented wave of security concerns. But as I write in my weekly column over at GigaOM Pro, that means big opportunities for vendors of mobile security who have yet to see huge demand for their smartphone offerings.

Security concerns are nothing new to mobile, thanks largely to FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) s0wn by vendors hawking security wares. But even the most dangerous mobile security threats thus far have been fairly innocuous in scale, from the earliest Symbian worms to “the budding dark side” of smartphone applications.

But we’re beginning to see the emergence of connected devices other than smartphones that present a higher set of risks when it comes to being hacked, and therefore call for iron-clad security measures.

For instance, last week, researchers from Rutgers University and the University of South Carolina demonstrated that wireless tire pressure monitors — which have been mandatory for new cars sold in the U.S. for the last two years — can be hacked. That study mirrored a similar effort from a few months ago that proved electronic control units themselves can be easily broken into, giving potential hackers access to a number of horrifying functions, from turning on windshield wipers to virtually punching the accelerator. The coming wave of connected healthcare gadgets and smart grid systems is sure to attract attention from hackers.

Those threats also present limitless opportunities for developers of mobile security who’ve been trying to put out fires that barely exist in today’s wireless world. Taking advantage of those opportunities will require different strategies, of course, but for forward-thinking players in the mobile-security game, it’s time to check out the world of M2M and stop crying “Wolf!” every time a questionable piece of malware makes its way onto a smartphone.

Read the full post here.

Image courtesy Flickr user dheuer.

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