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EU agencies coalition wants to tackle security challenges of IoT

Matteo Natalucci Published 24 October 2017

Europol-ENISA conference highlights the cyber-security risks of the Internet of Things


EU security and law enforcement agencies ENISA and Europol are stepping up European efforts to tackle the cyber-security threats and risks associated with the Internet of Things (IoT).

The IoT domain was recently discussed at a two-day conference attended by more than 250 participants from the private sector, security community, law enforcement, the European Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRT) community and academia.

This joint Europol-ENISA conference , the first one dedicated to IoT security,  provided the opportunity for all the relevant stakeholders to come together, discuss the challenges faced and identify possible solutions, building on existing initiatives and frameworks. A specific focus was on the role of law enforcement in responding to the criminal abuse of the IoT. 

The conference presented the many new legal, policy and regulatory challenges, broad and complex in scope that the adoption of IoT has brought to light. It also presented an overview of the various systems cybercriminals use to compromise IoT devices with malware.

The two-day meeting was testimony to the willingness of all the relevant international actors to ensure that the many benefits of the IoT can be fully realised by jointly addressing the security challenges and combating the criminal abuse of such devices, ultimately making cyberspace a safer place for all.

The conference highlighted the need for more cooperation and multi-stakeholder engagement to address interoperability, as well as security and safety issues especially in light of emerging developments like industry 4.0, autonomous vehicles, and the advent of 5G.

As securing the end device is often technically difficult and expensive to achieve, the conference recommended the focus should therefore be on securing the architecture and underlying infrastructure, creating trust and security across different networks and domains.

The conference also pointed out the urgent need for law enforcement to develop the technical skills and expertise to fight IoT-related cybercrime successfully.

Europol’s  executive director Rob Wainwright said, "Cybercriminals are quick to adapt to and exploit new technologies. They come up with new ways to victimise and affect people’s lives and invade their privacy, either by collecting or manipulating personal data or by virtually breaking into smart homes.

Wainwright added, “The Internet of Things is not only here to stay but expected to significantly expand as more and more households, cities and industries become connected. Insecure IoT devices are increasingly becoming tools for conducting cyber criminality. We need to act now and work together to solve the security challenges that come with the IoT and to ensure the full potential."

ENISA’s executive director Udo Helmbrecht said, “The IoT revolution is beginning to transform our personal lives and the infrastructures that we use on a regular basis such as smart homes, smart energy and smart health. Manufacturers and operators of these devices need to ensure that security by design has been incorporated into their selection and their deployment. ".


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