Proprietary Operating Systems Are Responsible for Most IoT Vulnerabilities

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  • Bitdefender's telemetry shows a huge disparity in the number of culpable operating systems
  • Learning from available security-related data is a necessary step to strengthen the IoT industry
  • The current state of IoT security requires an outside security solution that acts an equalizer

We live in a world full of IoT devices, with smart homes, smartphones, smart cars and even smart refrigerators, watches and cameras. We rarely pause to consider how secure this world is, but we can look at the numbers and learn from them. The lessons they teach are important.

Bitdefender's telemetry is full of interesting data that can be used to better understand how people's smart homes are put together. For the most part, smart homes are a mish-mash of technologies from different sources. We rarely see uniformity in a single household.

The sheer number of available IoT devices is like the two sides of a coin. On the one side, we have competition, which is a good thing. Competition drives the market forward at breakneck speeds, always pushing for better hardware or solutions to fill new niches.

The other side of the coin is the incredible market fragmentation, this time driven by the same competing companies. Because there are so many operating systems and proprietary solutions, they often can't talk to each other. More importantly, third-party security solutions have trouble interacting with them properly.

 

How to figure out if you're safe in your new smart home

 

If you think that most people don’t yet live in a smart home, you're probably mistaken. The futuristic image of a house that talks back to you isn't a reality yet, although with smart voice assistants it's not that far off. Instead, we have multiple smart devices that interact in various ways with our daily lives, from IP cameras, intelligent garage doors, smart speakers, and much more. Whether we're aware or not, we're already living in smart homes.

All of these conveniences and devices come with a security compromise, but because everyone's homes are different, it's difficult to quantify just how insecure they actually are. Difficult, though, doesn't mean impossible, and our latest telemetry provides a sneak peek into this serious problem.

We looked at the operating systems most used by devices monitored by Bitdefender's IoT technologies. We compared them with the data we had on the most vulnerable devices. To say that the results are surprising is an understatement.

 

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It turns out that, while devices with proprietary operating systems account for 34 percent of what people usually own, they are responsible for 96 percent of all detected vulnerabilities. It's a worrying statistic that's unlikely to change anytime soon.

 

How do we know?

 

That's an equally important question because Bitdefender's IoT platform does much more than find vulnerable devices, although that's an important function. Because it's platform-agnostic, it can be integrated directly into the ISP's routers without forcing a hardware upgrade.

It's not enough to know that one of our devices is vulnerable. It would be the equivalent of a security solution telling users that they've been infected by malware, then leaving people to deal with it. Bitdefender's IoT solution can detect vulnerable devices, and it will protect users when attackers try to exploit those vulnerabilities. The security platform can prevent incoming brute force attacks or DDoS attacks before they disrupt customers' lives.

Proprietary operating systems will remain a bane of cybersecurity for the foreseeable future, but it's good to know that users and ISPs have the tools necessary to protect homes and businesses.

 

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