We already know, very intimately now, how seemingly unprotected and open to exploitation the various devices that constitute the Internet of Things actually is. It seems in the haste of our want for thiings to be connected in useful ways, we forgot to lock the windows. And that’s a huge problem now, and can potentially be a catastrophic problem later, when more critical infrastructure starts relying on connected sensors for diagnoses and other activities.
Anything connected is potentially at risk
That rush to connect novel things, from hairbrushes to sex toys, has left us a bit vulnerable. With our pants down, so to speak. The infrastructure being developed for consumers didn’t seem to take into account the potential that these could be used for nefarious means. Despite the great intent, and convenience, of being able to quickly check on and control things from anywhere, seemed to outweigh proper security. Things connected to the Internet that aren’t locked down will be attacked. We just can’t have nice things, and there’s no such thing as simply trusting others to not do bad.
So what do we do about it? We have to make a concerted effort to develop with application security in mind. And we consumers could look at what networks our devices are on and even consider having a piece of hardware, be it our current router or something else, to act as a more improved firewall or security device, to help keep those devices under your own control and not someone else’s.
The Bitdefender Box 2 might be able to help
Bitdefender has a plan to help out, and it should have very little effect on badwidth or speed of your home Internet. The Bitdefender Box 2 is a sort of IDS that uses heuristics and machine learning to help detect and identify any threats that might come your way. Of course it’ll also be searching for known attacks on known vulnerabilities on devices and applications that are part of the IoT ecosystem. Having a smart home that can control every facet of your life is great, but those smart locks can be used against you by someone who’s really persistent. Imagine being locked in with a refrigerator that’s been turned off and a toilet that’s also malfunctioning thanks to the IoT. Yeah, there’s definitely a better way.
In essence an IoT gateway, but also a nearly proper IDS and firewall for consumers, it still might have a few issues that could affect adoption. Privacy is always a concern. The device analyzes your traffic and could theoretically be stored for later analysis as well. Though Bitdefender does take it very seriously and due to being based in a country in the EU, they do have to adhere to some very strict privacy laws. More strict than in the US at the moment, even. Even more, it may make both consumers and IoT developers more complacent. If something else is theoretically handling keeping bad traffic and malicious things at bay, then why put in the hard work?
Regardless, this Box 2 from Bitdefender should be the start. More companies should take the baton and start baking in better security into their routers and modems. And naturally IoT devices should start being more security conscious as well. We really can’t have nice things without someone ruining it for everyone. For now, though, the Box 2 looks to be a good, inexpensive, at $199, option for keeping our small piece of the world safe.