It probably sounds like a giant leap to compare The Flintstones, a television show about a modern stone-age family using animals as tools and appliances to the futuristic concept of the Internet of Things (IoT). But if you’ve ever watched an episode of this 1960s era cartoon or have seen the live-action 1990s movie version—then you might see the connection.

Bedrock the Hippest Town We Know for IoT

For instance, Wilma uses a baby mastodon vacuum, which is a mastodon that is tied to sticks on its back and pushed around to suck up dirt with his trunk. In another episode, a monkey and bird work together to play musical records. And the residents of Bedrock enjoy other "primitive" versions of modern conveniences like telephones, instant cameras, and washing machines that are all run by talking animals who make side comments about hating their jobs.

If you’ve been living under slab rock for the past couple of years, IoT describes everyday objects with network connectivity and the ability to communicate with one another. Many businesses are eager to deploy smart devices like the ones mentioned above and IoT to capitalize on the many benefits.

You Need More Than A Wooden Club To Repel IoT Security Risks

In May 2013, the McKinsey Global Institute stated, “We estimate the potential economic impact of the Internet of Things to be $2.7 trillion to $6.2 trillion per year by 2025 through use in a half-dozen major applications that we have sized.” That excitement, however, may be clouding their judgment when it comes to the security risks that the average Bedrock police officer wouldn’t be able to handle with a simple wooden club.

If you’re going to be ready for the Internet of Things, IT and security pros will have to understand the risks, as well as what they can do to mitigate them. The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), a not-for-profit charitable organization in the U.S. that advocates approaching application security as a people, process, and technology problem recently listed their Top Ten Internet of Things vulnerability categories.

Hewlett Packard reviewed the OWASP Top Ten Internet of Things study and conducted their own based on OWASP’s research. Hewlett Packard’s study tested the top 10 IoT devices being used today and revealed that 70% of the most commonly used Internet of Things devices are vulnerable to attack. (Click here for the whole study.) On average, HP found 25 vulnerabilities per device tested in the study, totaling 250 vulnerabilities. Highlights include:

  • Privacy concerns
  • Insufficient authorization
  • Lack of transport encryption
  • Unsecure web interface
  • Inadequate software protection 

The Slate Rock and Gravel Company Never Imagined Cyber-Threats

From the Stone Age until recently, business rarely had to take cybersecurity into account when buying equipment for the office. But now that many of these traditionally dumb devices are beginning to connect to the Internet, it can only help to keep IT informed of which new technology it might be dealing with.

Today’s CIO Needs to Examine How Machines Outside the Normal Purview Affect IT Operations

In an interview with Network World, Daniel Castro senior analyst with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington-based research and educational institute and Hung LeHong, Gartner research vice president spoke about IoT and its future impact.

“Companies increasingly will be operating in ‘smart buildings’ with advanced HVAC systems that are connected to the rest of the corporate network,” said Castro. “Many utility companies will be deploying Web-connected smart meters at customers' facilities to allow for remote monitoring.” Daniel Castro, senior analyst with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington-based research and educational institute.”

Castro continued. “Companies are tying their physical security to their network security so that data from security cameras and authentication readers are coming under the purview of enterprise IT and possibly under the enterprise network.”

Gartner’s Hung LeHong discussed a convergence of operational technology and IT. "As these machines go onto the corporate network the CIO or the COO need to start talking together about what the future is going to look like when traditional IT stuff and OT stuff are overlapping on the network."

As science imitates art more and more. What are the security challenges your organization might face as Modern Age devices become more like their Stone Age counterparts?

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