The enormous scope of leading-edge IoT technology is becoming automotive, industrial automation, smart home automation, wearable devices, and other applications, with scores of vendors leaping into this virtual gold rush. The global proliferation of the IoT is indeed exponential, projected to skyrocket beyond 20.4 billion connected devices by 2020 per a 2017 Gartner report. Each of those billions of new IoT devices represents a potential weak link to gain backdoor access to larger, more critical areas of cyberspace, beyond simple Internet access, compromising hospital, and government data networks, even potentially crippling major utility grids via a cyber attack. 
But this ultra-rapid expansion begs one very important question: is the IoT growing faster than anyone’s ability to adequately regulate or police it, specifically, defend users against hackers? One ominous example of the potential threats hackers pose to security has already been the 2016 Mirai botnet attack, where vulnerabilities in firmware used by 300,000 networked devices, including home cameras, DVRs, and other smart products, were exploited in a coordinated distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack which snarled Internet traffic across the United States and Europe. 
Defending IoT Devices
The primary defense against hacking is for manufacturers to incorporate encrypted communications protocols into their products, preventing hackers from gaining remote access. Manufacturers should devote additional resources to safeguard their products from common vulnerabilities, such as unprotected TCP/UDP or serial ports, accessible password prompts, and endpoints or central network hubs or web servers.
More importantly, manufacturers must provide a rapid response to future vulnerabilities by developing and deploying automatic downloads of firmware/software patches and updates as often as possible. Any product that’s not updatable is already obsolete before it leaves the factory. Without patches or updates, the only alternative to combat a major cyber threat is a costly product recall.
We’ve observed that many manufacturers actually consider IoT security something of an afterthought, focusing on other product features such as low power usage, memory capacity or sourcing the most cost-competitive materials. In this increasingly hazardous world, we consider security to be at the forefront of IoT product development, and our engineering and software development teams work alongside our OEM clients to continually assure their IoT products remain secure and reliable.
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