The necessity of ‘Secure-by-Design’ in today’s fast-changing world

Hoofddorp, The Netherlands

The new ‘Internet of Things’ world is characterised by millions upon millions of connected devices. With more insecure devices and network access points than ever before, ‘Secure-by-Design’ principles are essential for protecting against growing cyber security threats.

Over the last few years, digital technologies have transformed the world, affecting all sectors of business activity and daily life. The result is an Internet-of-Things (IoT) world, where everything is instrumented and interconnected.

By the end of 2018, according to Hikivision, there were an estimated 22 billion IoT-connected devices in use around the world. Forecasts suggest that this figure will increase to 50 billion by 2030 – creating a massive web of interconnected devices.

To support this highly connected future, thousands of Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices are connected to networks every day. Additionally, appetite for new features and functionality has created a ‘need for speed’ in terms of the development and deployment of new types of devices.

The rapid growth of complex, connected devices

Many IoT connected devices are now highly complex, incorporating advanced AI algorithms and other next-generation features.

IP-based video security cameras are a good example of this. Over the last 15 years, they have evolved from simple analogue video cameras, into complex, fully digitalised IoT devices driven by machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence.

Like other types of devices, evolution has been driven by customer demands for improved functionality and connectivity. This demand also created urgency in the development process, with providers competing to offer the most advanced features as fast as possible to win customers and market share.

Balancing development speed with security considerations

The race to develop more feature-rich, more connected IoT devices has fulfilled customers’ operational needs, but there have often been compromises in terms of security.

After all, building security into all aspects of the production process takes time – a precious resources that is not always available. Because of time pressures, several device manufacturers have opted for development and production speed over security.

The consequences: a global spike in cyber security incidents

The consequences of speed over security has been an enormous increase in serious IoT cybersecurity incidents. Cyber criminals have been able to access millions of IoT devices relatively easily, simply because these devices were not developed and produced with security-in-mind.

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