Smartphones Are Only the Tip of the Security Iceberg

Smartphone security is hot again. But if we buy smartphone security “apps” and add-ons, are we just avoiding dealing with the real problem? Mocana’s product team did a bottoms-up calculation of the connected devices that will be logging on the Internet of Things in the next 4 years – and guess what? Smartphones are just the tip of the iceberg.

There are a lot of smartphones coming online, that’s for sure. But they account for only a small fraction of the IP-addressable devices that industry analysts say will flood onto the Internet over the next few years. Indeed, the total number of IP addressable, non-PC devices is exploding across all sectors — from datacom to appliances to smart grid. And the vast majority of these devices are sold, and fielded, with essentially no security measures board.

Smartphone security is important, and I’m glad that its finally getting the attention it deserves. But point-solutions designed for one platform won’t scale across these other (more populous) device classes. And that scalability is exactly what manufacturers desperately need, when many of them — like Sony or Panasonic — make and sell devices on literally every facet of this iceberg. Sooner or later, the security approach needs to be unified and holistic – otherwise we’re going to run out of fingers to stick in our leaky dams.

As an industry, we have reached a critical point: it is time to decide how we secure the future. It is crucial that we not make the same mistakes we made when developing PC security 15 years ago. Smart device security needs to become more platform agnostic, scalable and extensible.

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