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The Cloud Security Alliance has released a new detailed and hefty guidance report titled Future-proofing the Connected World: 13 Steps to Developing Secure IoT Products created to help designers and developers of Internet of Things related products and services understand the basic security measures that must be incorporated throughout the development process.

The Internet of things is broad ranging, and the pace of change and innovation is fast.  This makes identifying controls that can be applied against diverse IoT products difficult.  Recently, much has been said regarding the need to secure the Internet of Things against a large number of attacks and a diverse pool of attackers. The broad applicability of the Internet of things concept across many industries and many types of products and systems has made it increasingly challenging to establish such guidance. With the release of this important and informative report, the CSA looks to provide much needed education and direction to product developers who know their products are at risk of compromise, but may lack the understanding as to where to start the process for mitigating that risk.

“It is often heard in our industry that securing Internet of Things products and systems is an insurmountable effort,” said Brian Russell, Chair IoT Working Group and Chief Engineer, Cyber Security Solutions with Leidos. “However, with the help of our extremely knowledgeable and dedicated volunteers, we are providing a strong starting point for organizations that have begun transforming their existing products into IoT-enabled devices, as well as newly emerging Internet of things startups. We hope to empower developers and organizations with the ability to create a security strategy that will help mitigate the most pressing threats to both consumer and business Internet of things products.”

Specifically, the report lays out 13 considerations and guidance for designing and developing reasonably secure Internet of things devices, to mitigate some of the more common issues that can be found with IoT device development. Additionally, realizing that often times there is a need to quickly identify the critical security items in a product development lifecycle, researchers also outline the top five security considerations that when applied will begin to increase an IoT product’s security posture substantially.

Additionally, the report lays out guidance in the following areas:

  1. A discussion on IoT device security challenges.
  2. Results from an IoT security survey conducted by the CSA IoT Working Group.
  3. A discussion on security options available for IoT development platforms.
  4. A categorization of IoT device types and a review of a few threats.
  5. Recommendations for secure device design and development processes.
  6. A detailed checklist for security engineers to follow during the development process.
  7. A set of appendices that provide examples of Internet of things products mapped to their relevant threats.

The CSA Internet of things Working Group focuses on understanding the relevant use cases for IoT deployments and defining actionable guidance for security practitioners to secure their implementations.  The group is led by Russell, with initiative leads Priya Kuber, Dr. Shyam Sundaram, Aaron Guzman, Arlene Mordeno and Sabri Khemissa.  Nearly 30 CSA IoT working group members contributed to development of the 80 plus page guidance report.

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