IBM, AT&T and Others Have Another Crack at IoT Security

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IBM and AT&T have teamed up with several security vendors to form a new group focused on improving IoT security and influencing industry standards.

The IoT Cybersecurity Alliance will also feature Symantec, Palo Alto Networks and UK smart device security firm Trustonic.

Member organizations will collaborate on new research across IoT verticals including healthcare, connected car and industrial.

They’ll try to solve IoT security problems at every stage – from endpoint to connectivity, cloud and data/application layers.

Another key tenet is to make security easily accessible for all, across the value chain. The group will also try to raise awareness of security challenges across industry and among policymakers, it said.

AT&T research from 2016 claimed 58% of business leaders are not confident in the security of their IoT devices.

“The explosive growth in the number of IoT devices is only expected to continue; therefore, so must the associated cybersecurity protections,” said Mo Katibeh, AT&T senior vice-president of advanced solutions.

“Today’s businesses are connecting devices ranging from robots on factory floors to pacemakers and refrigerators. Helping these organizations stay protected requires innovation across the whole IoT ecosystem to enable sustainable growth.”

Cesare Garlati is chief security strategist of the non-profit prpl Foundation, which provides guidance and thought leadership to the community on how to secure embedded computing systems.

He argued that in the end the standards that work best will be those that are most widely accepted - irrespective of the size of organization promoting them.

“The risk when vendors are involved is quite high, especially when they’re not running the group as a full-time job – and it mainly comes down to the ability to execute its mandates,” he cautioned. 

Any cross-industry consortium should therefore have a “razor-sharp focus,” concrete deliverables such as white paper research, and be open and welcoming to participation from others, Garlati argued.

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