Gadgets Need to be Secured; Says D.C. Senators


Photo by: fancycrave1 via pixabay

Senators put forth a new legislation on August 1 with hopes of improving the governments’ digital defense from hackers.  A year ago a huge cybersecurity breach took down Spotify and Twitter temporarily.  The proposed bill is aimed at gadgets and connected devices.

The Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act 2017 is being touted by  Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mark Warner (D.-Va.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).  If passed the IOTCI Act will make it necessary that tech companies who sell connected devices to the government make sure those products are allowed to be patched with security updates.  The bill also proposes that said devices aren’t to be sold with unchangeable passwords.

Warner stated, “What we're saying with internet of things (IoT) devices is if you've got hard-coded passwords or they're not able to be patched because they're cheaper or smaller devices, that can't be standard protocol." 

Hackers weaponized connected devices last year and were able to prevent access to many popular websites.  Although the hack didn’t last long, it did highlight vulnerabilities in products like smart sensors and fitness trackers.  The breach was just a chink in the armor for IoT  According to CB Insights, $1.2 billion in funding was awarded to companies that work with or build connected devices.  IoT still dominates the fitness and home sectors as well.  

According to Govini (a business intelligence platform), $4billion was spent on “sensors and data collectors” from 2011 to 2015 by federal agencies.  

Warner said to Reuters that their desire with this new bill is to fix an "obvious market failure" that left connected device companies with little incentive to build with security in mind.  "We're trying to take the lightest touch possible."

The Internet of Things is a hot button issue these days both in innovation and problematic security-while the technology world changes at the speed of light. It is to be seen in the following days if government can keep up.