All the Shiny Things Will Still Require Security in 2015

December 16, 2014
By: Maurice Nagle

With the sun setting on 2014, it is time to look ahead at what 2015 may have in store. The proliferation of the availability of Wi-Fi is creating fertile ground for the wearable space and connected devices for both consumers and the enterprise alike. An “undiscovered” gold mine of data will prove to be the impetus of enterprise investment in this “tapped” but unrealized connected future.

 I am a glass half full kind of guy but recent events have me concerned about the security risks inherent with all these soon-to-be billions of devices—and the data they collect.

2014 saw each of the major players—Samsung, Apple, Motorola (News - Alert), to name a few—release watches. From the security side, Nicko van Someren CTO of Good Technology added, “The emergence of new technology will result in the emergence of new security threats and vulnerabilities, putting users' data at risk.  We don't yet know how hard it will be to break into these devices but we do know that if hackers can infiltrate your smartwatch they can potentially make transactions from Apple (News - Alert) Pay, and possibly reach back into the database on your smartphone to capture all sorts of sensitive information.”

Someren looks to 2015 to be the year of the smartwatch, with a plethora of intriguing offerings on both Apple and Android (News - Alert) platforms; the pump is primed for exciting growth and adoption, but also the possibility of security threats.

Much like the beginning of the bring your own device movement; the enterprise is not fully prepared for what wearables will mean for the transmission and security of data. Someren stated, “Unless businesses move swiftly to limit how corporate data is delivered to and consumed on these devices some sort of data breach inevitable." Greater connectivity parallels greater threat, and much like BYOD the enterprise was oblivious to the threats presented it now has time to grow with this burgeoning technology and take the necessary security provisions.

Hacks are no laughing matter—ask Sony. Enterprise and consumer technology is growing in sophistication and complexity, but so too are hacker tactics. And as Someren alludes, if people would more intelligently create passwords, raise awareness and diligence the problem would not be so augmented.

Someren believes, "Cyberattacks are getting more sophisticated and complex. This will continue in 2015 but it appears that many companies are not moving fast enough to keep up and the likely result will be major security breaches.” He added, “The biggest contributing factor to these security risks will be human error and lack of awareness."

Many IP service providers do not own their networks. This creates a scenario of sending secure data across public lines, something many professionals don’t realize. One’s Ethernet may be Ft. Knox but the Public Internet is the Wild West.

But Someren also sees a larger threat looming in the use of consumer technology. He said it best, “Consumer devices and consumer-centric technologies act as a gateway for corporate data to move between controlled, corporate environments and parts unknown.” These devices were designed to make sharing data easier to share and in doing are vulnerable. Someren views this as a major risk for the enterprise, simply because people lack awareness, “Popular consumer mobile applications can easily move data outside of corporate controls without the user knowing, creating huge security issues for the enterprise." 

Password is not a password. I will now quote the movie “Hackers” from a scene illustrating the response to a corporate hack, “Someone didn't bother reading my carefully prepared memo on commonly-used passwords. Now, then, as I so meticulously pointed out, the four most-used passwords are: love, sex, secret, and...God.”

 Little things can make a big difference, much like G.I. Joe says, “Knowing is half the battle,” awareness is integral to protecting one’s valuable data. Only time will tell what 2015 brings, but as we inch toward the ball dropping and the season of resolutions, a good one would be to make sure all precautions are taken to protect your data. Consumer or enterprise, the risk is real and though 2015 will be an exciting time for new shiny things, someone is out there every day working to leverage it against you.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi