Consumers should brace for home network intrusions in 2016

As the Internet of Things ramps up, hackers’ eyes will be on service hub leader

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Con­sumers should expect a Gold Rush with respect to the Inter­net of Things in 2016. Google, Ama­zon, Microsoft and oth­ers are seek­ing to become the dom­i­nant hub of IoT devices and services—the sin­gle point of con­nec­tion for con­sumers to tie into IoT in their homes.

Ed note_NetIQ_Geoff WebbThe com­pa­ny that emerges as the pre­dom­i­nant choice of con­sumers will bear a great deal of the respon­si­bil­i­ty for secu­ri­ty and pri­va­cy of per­son­al data.

Relat­ed video: Inter­net of Things cre­ates secu­ri­ty sea change

In 2016, it’s like­ly one ven­dor will emerge as the main IoT hub for con­sumer ser­vices. This leader will fos­ter an ecosys­tem approach that oth­er ven­dors can­not wait to be part of.

The fastest route to suc­cess for new IoT device mak­ers and ser­vice providers will be to ride the coat­tails of the most pop­u­lar IoT ecosystem.

Relat­ed sto­ry: Secu­ri­ty must be part of device design as Inter­net of Things evolves

Obvi­ous can­di­dates for IoT dom­i­na­tion are Google, with its Nest on Google Play and Ama­zon, with its Ama­zon Echo. But you should nev­er under­es­ti­mate the likes of Microsoft, whose Inter­net-con­nect­ed Xbox gam­ing con­sole lives in mil­lions of homes.

Nor should you dis­count under-the-radar ven­dors, such as Jibo, who could gain a foothold via a dis­rup­tive technology.

Bulls-eye on front-runner

Once the front-run­ner emerges, that lead­ing IoT ecosys­tem is sure to become a prime hack­ing tar­get. Nefar­i­ous par­ties can be expect­ed to inten­si­fy efforts to dis­rupt IoT devices and ser­vices and to steal valu­able con­sumer and busi­ness data.

IoT ven­dors will need to be espe­cial­ly rig­or­ous in their secu­ri­ty plan­ning, sup­ply chain man­age­ment, access con­trols and more.

This will be a sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge for them, as they will need to make trade-offs between ease of use and deter­ring unau­tho­rized con­nec­tion and usage.

 As ven­dors seek to strike a bal­ance between con­ve­nience and secu­ri­ty, con­sumers will be exposed to deep intru­sions of their home networks.

A cen­tral IoT hub that is easy and con­ve­nient to use also can open up numer­ous paths for an attack­er to infil­trate almost any IoT ser­vice. Pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions, sen­si­tive health care infor­ma­tion, even whether the con­sumer is at home or not could be exposed.

A wave of home IoT breach­es could be dis­as­trous to the ecosys­tem ven­dors, as well as to indi­vid­ual vic­tims. It could sig­nif­i­cant­ly under­mine people’s con­fi­dence in using IoT devices and services.

More on the Inter­net of Things:
Impen­e­tra­ble’ encryp­tion arrives to lock down Inter­net of Things
Samsung’s SmartTV fore­shad­ows Inter­net of Things eavesdropping
Health care data at risk: Inter­net of Things facil­i­tates health care data breaches