A step in the right direction for security in the world of IoT?

Security companies appear to have woken up to the IoT threat, as Bullguard acquires "Security of Things" company Dojo Labs and F-Secure launches an IoT security monitor.

Internet of Things: the next security frontier
Internet of Things: the next security frontier

BullGuard has announced its acquisition of Dojo Labs, an IoT security company, claiming it will address a neglected sector of computer security, the security of IoT devices.

In the process, they said they will redefine how security is delivered to consumers and small businesses who might otherwise struggle with keeping up with the ever-emerging cyber-threat landscape.

Paul Lipman, CEO at BullGuard, stressed the importance of such efforts saying, “More than four billion consumer devices are connected to the internet today, and this number is growing exponentially. Until now, the security and privacy of these devices has been essentially non-existent, leaving our most precious data and possessions exposed.”

The IoT has moved rapidly from an early adopter market into the mainstream, but in doing so has introduced a range of new security concerns for consumers.

Recent BullGuard research highlighted the scale of the problem and the concerns that many people have about the security of their connected devices.

Sixty-six percent of UK survey respondents said they are highly concerned about the security of connected devices, while 72 percent do not know how to secure them properly. In the US, 58 percent expressed security concerns while 61 percent said they don't know how to secure their IoT devices.

“The transformative promise of smart homes can only be truly realised once the security problem has been solved," said Yossi Atias, Dojo Labs co-founder.​

Although not a unique offering, Israel-based Dojo Labs has developed its answer to the IoT security problem, a box which sits on the network and protects from both malware and cyber-attackers.

It is managed through a mobile app, coupled with a cloud-based platform which Dojo Labs says utilises proprietary machine learning algorithms to detect and block threats and anomalies.

However, Bullguard is not the only company finally turning its attention to IoT. At Slush Helsinki 2015, F-Secure launched its security box Sense, an IoT security monitor.

Sitting between the home router and all of the ‘connected' devices that link into it, it provides a ‘plug-n-play' security system designed to allow home users to protect their security and privacy from an app.

Although there wasn't much detail given on the inner workings on the box, Samu Konttinen, at the time executive vice president of F-Secure, told SCMagazineUK.com that “both the cloud infrastructure that powers the box (which allows it to do over 5 billion lookups a day) and the box itself are not hackable” – a claim which the company says is backed by its 27 years of experience in the security industry.

F-Secure is likewise looking to bring security to the mass market and is working on an idea it calls “device reputation” that would scan all the connected devices, and give the owner an indication of where they are lacking in security – for instance, do they have good passwords? Further down the roadmap, Konttinen said F-Secure plans to secure cars, TVs and other IoT devices.

In general, it seems as though the market is moving towards physical boxes to provide security for our modern digital lives. So much so that insurance firm Zurich is now offering a discount on IoT alarms, further pushing the idea of a smart home.