M2M Manufacturers Must Beef Up Security

By David Delony February 11, 2013

Although Mobile-to-Mobile (M2M) technology may be one of the hottest new fields in the tech world, security concerns are emerging, according to a report by ABI Research.

“The market’s ability to respond to these security challenges at the application level is still underdeveloped,” said Michela Menting, senior analyst in cyber security for ABI Research. “When faced with security requirements, the focus has been to tighten the screws at the network level, often to the detriment of the application, leaving it unpatched and exposed.”

One major problem is that M2M manufacturers haven’t implemented the same kinds of security features that have become standard in conventional Internet hardware and software. The lack of security could hamper M2M adoption in fields where security is critical, such as defense, medical and industry applications.

The nascent M2M industry’s lax approach to security is already uncovering a number of security problems in application areas including medical, SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) and other fields.

TMC CEO Rich Tehrani cited in a blog post the Stuxnet worm, which crippled Iranian nuclear reactors as an example of the kind of problems that ignoring security concerns can cause.

He tied it in with a software-induced cooling problem in the Ford Escape SE and SEL models.

“In a more interconnected world, it seems only a matter of time before automotive operating system software is updated over the Internet the way just about everything else is. And so the excitement begins – imagine if a criminal group or hostile nation figures out how to update the software governing coolant systems in cars of a specific manufacturer. They could target said vehicles and modify the algorithms for cooling, throttle response or anything else which could wreak havoc.”

The need for security has spurred growth in solutions specializing in M2M security, which is expected to grow to 198 million by 2018. Manufacturers of M2M security solutions include Axeda, ILS Technology, Gemalto, Novatel Wireless and Sierra Wireless.

Edited by Braden Becker

Contributing Writer

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