IoT security: lessons from the maritime and airline industries

1Executive Summary

The number of high-profile security breaches being reported in the IoT world is on the rise. According to Symantec’s latest “Internet Security Threat Report,” the number of data breaches grew 62 percent between 2012 and 2013. While the public is largely familiar with the December 2013 breach of U.S. retail giant Target’s checkout system, the danger is far more pervasive. As the volume of connected devices and associated data increases, so too will the probability of hackers and malware writers targeting systems to exploit networks, steal data, hijack systems, and compromise workflows. Recent hacks in the maritime industry have endangered profits, properties, and lives, while an increasingly connected airline industry is an equally compelling target. Many do not consider IoT security a high priority, mostly because of a lack of awareness. However, by evaluating the missteps and successes of these two industries, businesses in more nascent stages of IoT development can avoid costly blunders and build in security from the start.

Key findings in this report include:

  • The maritime industry has been significantly compromised but has yet to adopt even the most basic security practices.
  • The airline industry presents a high-value target to hackers, and is following a path toward connectivity that is very similar to that of the maritime industry. It has, however implemented a number of industry-wide security protocols that significantly reduce its exposure.
  • Businesses should follow a four-step process of awareness, flexibility, comprehensive design, and standards-based development.
  • Companies should take advantage of publicly available training offerings and resources. They should also look to hire cyber security professionals to continually measure and report on the progress of security programs that have been put in place.
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Craig Foster

Co-Founder and Senior Consultant Valour Consultancy

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