The headlines from this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) may be abuzz with new home automation systems, remote-controlled drones, and self-driving cars, but it appears cybersecurity concerns are also gaining attention. At CES — one of the world’s largest and most important showcases for new mass market devices, kicking off this week in Las Vegas — both industry discussions and products on the show floor are beginning gradually beginning to reflect the security research community’s call for better IoT security. From issues with consumer Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure to hacked self-driving cars, 2015 may end up being remembered as the year that made manufacturers take notice of the security risks that can come from putting consumer devices online.
One key indicator comes from how much time CES organizers are devoting this year to educating their members about cybersecurity. USA Today reports that for the first time ever, the show will host several cybersecurity-focused panel discussions. This year’s event will showcase a special cybersecurity forum, featuring more than a half-dozen talks covering everything from how companies can use threat intelligence to discussing the popular TV show “Mr. Robot.” ITbusiness.ca reports that experts such as Director of US-CERT Ann Barron Di Camillo and Brian Krebs, the cybersecurity gumshoe, will speak about topics ranging from improved breach response to mitigating IoT security risks.
There are some indications that developers too are becoming more aware of the need to build security into IoT devices. According to ZDNet, IoT technology was at the top of the agenda at the AT&T Developer Summit, a conference and hackathon being held in parallel with CES. Ralph de la Vega, CEO and president for AT&T’s mobile and business units, said the industry should be concerned about protecting the data collected by IoT devices.
It appears that consumers are also beginning to pay attention to IoT security. A company called CUJO recently completed a crowdfunding campaign to offer a consumer-grade UTM device to protect connected devices like game consoles and security cameras. The startup exceeded its funding goal by over 700 percent. Last year at CES, the expo included the first-ever “Personal Privacy and Cyber Security Marketplace” — a collection of exhibitors showing off the latest technologies to keep home devices protected and private.
A positive step for consumer safety, all of the efforts at CES indicate a growing trend toward increased security literacy outside of the infosec community. A year of high profile car hacks and IoT-related security scares have done something that the industry hasn’t been able to accomplish so far previously — making the risks of insecurity tangible for the everyday person.