Blog / Cheaper technology means less security
As devices evolve, cheaper technology is leaving some vulnerable.
As technology advances, what used to be cutting edge becomes commonplace and unmoving. Take cameras, for example. They used to be specialized and expensive, the sort of things only businesses and professionals used. Then came personal cameras like those touristy yellow-block Kodaks and the now famous Polaroid. These days you can install a camera with a microphone and speaker with a 2-way remote connection in the front door of your house for less than $50, not to mention the fact they’re integrated into virtually everyone’s pockets via their smartphone. Cheaper technology always brings with it added availability.
However, the decrease in cost and explosion of accessibility has also brought with it the assumption that taking and storing visual information is a simple thing to do. It is not. It is just that the technology has become cheaper and affordable, not necessarily less complicated. The same goes for IoT devices. They’re popping up everywhere, from light switches and bulbs to cameras to toys to virtually anything else.
The thing is, IoT devices are cheap to make, but also inexpensive to sell, so there’s not actually a huge amount of profit to be had. As a result, big-name tech companies aren’t making much of a play into that space, and nameless brand-x companies have become the norm.
So, what’s one way to improve your bottom line when you’re a small company? Slashing costs by cutting corners and outsourcing development and/or testing and security is one way. Unfortunately this push for cheaper and cheaper technology leads to poor decision-making, like the kind that lead to thousands of devices pre-stalled with malware. Worse, in this case, since the attackers clearly had access to those devices during development, it may be impossible to remove the malware.
This may seem counter intuitive. Software that’s been installed that can not be uninstalled? How is that possible? It depends a lot on the device. Depending on where the attackers gained access to the devices in their development cycle, that malware could actually be baked into the hardware so it automatically installs the malware on startup. Businesses with a reputation need to protect it by installing strong safeguards against such behavior, but small companies, particularly foreign-held manufacturers like the ones that currently dominate the IoT space, do not.
The takeaway? Always remember that just because a technology has become mature enough to become mainstream doesn’t mean every aspect of it is “advanced.” Cheaper technology does not mean safer, and you need be certain to properly research any devices you’re considering purchasing, as well as the company that made them.
This weeks quote comes from Hamlet; “Every plan breaks easily, Because the intention is a slave to memory”
If you’re considering purchasing IoT devices for your business, contact a TRINUS professional and we’ll be happy to help you identify a reputable and reliable IoT technology vendor.