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Raising Awareness One Hack at a Time

Devices that connect to the Internet are susceptible to hacking. The latest security breach came out this week as VTech confirmed that the data of millions of users was compromised. While credit card information wasn't stolen, the personal details of 5 million people, the names, ages, gender and home address of thousands of children, ended up in the hands of “an unauthorized party”.

In the VTech case, security expert, Troy Hunt, pointed to the company's troubling security practices.

Where's the Trust?

The advice to parents is that if you share your information online, you are at risk for having that information hacked. In this case, parents were required to provide information in order to download apps and games.

The solution being offered by experts: don't give your real information away. The bottom line is that devices that connect to the Internet cannot be trusted.

Once again, it raises the question: what about the Internet of Things?

With thousands of start-ups working on the next “can't live without it” item, security must be at the forefront. It can't be tacked on as an after thought — it has to be baked right in the product. In fact, it should be there from the start as part of the minimum viable product.

Reputational Damage

A data breach or hacking has the potential to kill the viability of any product.

Case in point — the revelation that Facebook app maker Vonvon, Inc.'s privacy statement advices users that they collect their data, even if the user delete the app. Some of the information considered fair game according to their policy included:

  • Name, profile picture, age, sex, birthday, and other public info
  • Friend list
  • All timeline postings
  • All photos and photos the users were “tagged” in
  • Education history
  • Hometown and current city
  • Any page or post — anything — ever liked
  • IP address
  • Info about the device, including browser and language

In this case, while it wasn't a breach, to the millions of users it felt like they were hacked. When the story broke, Vonvon insisted that they didn't really keep or sell people's information. A statement from the company's CEO, Jonghwa Kim, also acknowledges the consequences of this kind of breach:

“Your style mislead the readers and putting great damage to our reputation and trust. I'd appreciate if you take back this misleading accusation.”

Stand Out With Security

It's early days in the Internet of Things. As companies make mistakes and feel the impact of reputational damage, they will teach others that there is a better way.

Security must be built into every product that connects to the Internet.

In fact, this is an opportunity. For innovative developers, leading with security will help them stand out in the crowd.

Contact us today to learn how TrustPoint Innovation can help secure your IoT innovation.

About this Blog

The TrustPoint Innovation Blog covers security industry topics relating to Certificates, Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC), Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Communication, Near Field Communication (NFC), Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Communication, and more.

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