IoT roundup: Security problems galore and a way to track urinary infections

A look at some IoT news including a survey that finds a lack of insight into threats to business internet of things devices and a medical application of IoT senors to spot health problems in patients with dementia.

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The two things everybody knows about IoT are that A, its use is growing at a pretty spectacular rate, encompassing use cases from the most frivolous of consumer gadgetry to the most heavy-duty of industrial machinery, and B, it is, as a consequence, a gloriously tempting target for malicious hackers.

News related to point B has been making headlines lately, including the results of a study from Gemalto, which found that roughly half of all companies using IoT didn’t even have the basic ability to detect outside interference or hacking on their devices. That is, in a word, bad.

Government needs to help with IoT

Uncharacteristically, the companies surveyed seem to be looking to the government to step in and help fix the problem – nearly 80% of respondents said that governments around the word should provide “more robust guidance” for IoT security products. While may seem unusual for businesses to come out in favor of stricter laws governing the technology they use, this result from Gemalto’s study makes sense in the unique context of IoT.

The bulk of the new IoT devices flooding into the marketplace aren’t made by firms that have a lot of traditional experience in making connected gadgets, they’re made by firms that  have, in general, made the non-connected versions of those gadgets. In other words, the companies that make connected toasters and refrigerators are much better at making the toasters and refrigerators than they are at making secure versions of them. (It’s worth noting, of course, that Gemalto’s a security company with a vested interest in people spending money on security products, so taking their study with at least a small grain of salt is probably worthwhile.)

And it isn’t as though the security industry isn’t paying attention – among many other companies rushing to provide security for IoT deployments is Trend Micro, which announced the global launch of its Trend Micro IoT Security version 2.0 earlier this month. The new version of TMIS, as Trend Micro wants us to call it, is designed for use by IoT device manufacturers, allowing the aforementioned companies who might not have a lot of cybersecurity experience to bake security into their products simply and easily, early in the development cycle. It also comes with “tight integration” into Trend Micro’s database of dodgy websites, helping users identify when devices are attempting to connect to potentially malicious servers.

The IoT devices will see you now

The IoT is already making waves in the medical field, but innovation in the area continues. Recent research from the UK’s University of Surrey outlines a system that uses in-home IoT devices to help diagnose urinary tract infections in patients with dementia. (The study asserts that UTIs are one of the most common reasons for dementia sufferers to be admitted to hospitals in Britain.)

The system works via the use of Bluetooth-enabled vital signs trackers, and an array of motion sensors and passive infrared cameras to monitor the location of patients within their homes. The idea is to correlate changes with patients’ vital signs with their movements – essentially, watching for changes in body temperature and urination frequency. The system is overseen by AI, which can learn over time to discard false positives and diagnose patients with greater accuracy.

AWS IoT reach grows with Bsquare partnership

Best known for its DataV IIoT software stack, IoT service provider Bsquare announced earlier this week that it had finalized a partnership with Amazon that will make AWS the primary cloud-based provider of DataV. Bsquare’s been involved with Amazon for IoT provisioning for some time, having been named an “IoT Competency Partner” in the retail-and-cloud giant’s partner network in 2016.

DataV is designed to act as a primary IIoT software layer, turning raw data from instrumented industrial devices, vehicles or other enterprise assets into human-digestible insights. The expanded partnership with Amazon will mean new features for DataV, according to Bsquare, doubtless thanks to standardization on a single, albeit highly popular, cloud platform.

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