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McAfee Plots Security Framework for Internet of Things

The Open Interconnect Consortium is a project meant to define and deliver device-to-device connectivity requirements for the internet of things (IoT)
The Open Interconnect Consortium is a project meant to define and deliver device-to-device connectivity requirements for the internet of things (IoT)

The Open Interconnect Consortium, a project meant to define and deliver device-to-device connectivity requirements for the internet of things (IoT), counts several tech giants as members, including Samsung, Broadcom, Atmel, Dell and Wind River. But with greater connectivity comes security concerns, so McAfee has joined the consortium.

With tales of hackable light bulbs, botnet-ready refrigerators, smart TVs that can spy on you and even hijackable pacemakers looming in the collective consciousness, McAfee plans to help establish the requirements for how IoT devices will operate safely in the smart home and the smart office – and from there, create a cross-platform IoT standard that’s open to any company wishing to use it.

“The consortium plans to deliver on three goals to help developers improve interoperability and device-to-device connectivity for the internet of things: a standard specification, an open source implementation and a certification program,” explained Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist for McAfee, in a blog. “The ultimate goal of our consortium is to enable IoT devices to connect and talk with one another regardless of who constructed the device in a safe and responsible manner.”

There is no better time than the present to start addressing the issues: according to the IDC, IoT is set to introduce billions of smart, connected devices – as many as 212 billion devices connected by 2020. Davis noted two initiatives that are already getting underway: Home Depot’s partnership with tech incubator Quirky and IoT specialist Wink will, together with General Electric, deliver an affordable smart home platform. Staples, too, is slated to release its smart home solution, Staples Connect.

“A network can imply a number of things: it can imply a group of friends, coworkers and teams. It can be used to reference a grouping of schools, businesses and universities,” Davis said. “And it can also imply a connection uniting each of these elements with one another. Today, we call that connection—that network—the Internet. To say the Internet has transformed how we work and play today is a monumental understatement. It allows us to communicate, collaborate and advance across vast distances at the speed of light. But the Internet isn’t done yet.”

He added, “We want to help make sure the future iterations of these solutions are executed in a safe, responsible manner that enables the full potential of the IoT.”

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