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Microsoft Secures IoT 'Dark Matter'

Mitch Wagner

Tens of billions of intelligent, connected devices coming online represent a kind of "dark matter" that IT has been unable to see or secure, says Microsoft. The vendor seeks to shine a light on the darkness with new IoT security services launched.

The dark IoT devices, including smart devices in the home and workplace as well as industrial equipment, are powered by microcontroller units (MCUs). Every year, 9 billion MCU devices are shipped worldwide, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) says.

"The MCU devices are the dark matter of the computing universe," Galen Hunt, Microsoft distinguished engineer, and partner group program manager, Azure Sphere, said in an interview at the Microsoft Ignite conference in Orlando, Fla., last week. "They outnumber everything else ten to one and they haven't been connected until now." Microsoft estimates there will be 20 billion MCU devices deployed by 2020, and 80 billion by 2025, Sam Hunt, Microsoft director of Azure IoT, said.

Connected cars, like this one on the Microsoft Ignite show floor, are among the billions of IoT devices that will come online and require securing in the next few years.
Connected cars, like this one on the Microsoft Ignite show floor, are among the billions of IoT devices that will come online and require securing in the next few years.

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He added, "If the devices don't have security, they're an open playfield for hackers, and with MCU devices it's particularly concerning because they actually control physical things in your environment."

And often these devices are unsecured, simply because manufacturers found it impossible to build in security at IoT's low price point.

Additionally, many of these devices have not been secured because the risk was perceived as low -- which it was, before the devices were connected. For example, a Las Vegas casino was hacked through a fish tank thermometer. Hackers attacked through a vulnerability in the thermometer, which gave them a foothold on the network and access to the casino's high roller database, Hunt said. "You say, that's a fish tank thermometer -- why does it need to be secure? It's network connected."

Microsoft is looking to mitigate the problem with Azure Sphere, a combination of hardware, software and services to help manufacturers build secure IoT devices. Azure Sphere MCU hardware and the Azure Sphere OS incorporate built-in security, and Azure Sphere Security Service provides ongoing protection. (See Microsoft Flexes Muscles on AI, IoT & Security.)

Last week, Microsoft launched tools to let developers start prototyping new products and services with Azure Sphere, specifically developer kits, and public previews of Azure Sphere OS, Azure Sphere Security Service and Visual Studio development tools.

Also, Microsoft announced last week that it is integrating IoT security into Azure Security Center, giving security pros a single pane of glass from which to manage security on a suite of Azure services, including IoT.

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— Mitch Wagner Follow me on Twitter Visit my LinkedIn profile Visit me on Tumblr Follow me on Facebook Executive Editor, Light Reading

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User Rank: Light Beer
10/9/2018 | 12:08:11 PM
Trillion of Iot
Over the past three plus years I have worked on an innovation for a creative solution to the problem of spectrum exhaust.  I now have a patent (Phased Information Pulse) to be released on October 16, by the US Patent Office that will provide a solution to exhaustion of the wireless spectrum. 


The solution:

·         Doubles the amount of data sent over existing spectrum

·         Doubles the speed of data transfer. 


The economic benefits are obvious.  I estimate the worldwide value of wireless spectrum at over $5 trillion and the value of 5G US wireless investment at between $25 and $30 billion in 2018.  It is estimated that $100 billion per year will be spent in the US alone for 5G in the years ahead. 


Next on my agenda are two inventions built on my Phased Information Pulse patent.  One will change the way we address devices.  Internet of Things (IoT) is seen as having a tremendous economic impact.  However, we do not need to burden the benefits with the potential high costs and questionable performance of 5G.  My pending invention can address over 270 trillion devices using a fraction of bandwidth planned with 5G.  The second invention relates to video that will provide improved quality while using one-quarter of the bandwidth.  These solutions will work on either 4G or 5G technology.
User Rank: Light Beer
10/5/2018 | 11:20:05 PM
That paragraph just reminds me of how all of these big corporations around the whole are just trying to capitalise and monetize something that shouldn't have to be. At the end of the day, they just want to make money off providing people a service that should be made a free commodity. Information and access to information should not be held hostage because people are not able to afford logging into or gaining the connections to it!
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