Microsoft: Governments can be catalysts for good IoT security practices

18 May 2017

Microsoft has issued a policy paper on Cybersecurity policy for the Internet of Things (IoT), noting that securing IoT is an urgent matter that requires collaboration across borders, sectors, and organisations. In the company’s view, governments and the technology industry need to work together to increase the security of IoT networks and devices. When it comes to the industry, the paper recommends several practices to secure IoT hardware, integrate security into IoT solutions, ensure a more secure IoT deployment, and maintain the security of IoT devices. On the public sector side, governments can serve as catalysts or the development of good IoT security practices; build cross-disciplinary partnerships that encourage public-private collaboration and inter-agency cooperation; and support initiatives that improve IoT security across borders.

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The Internet of Things (IoT) includes a wide range of Internet-connected devices, from highly digitalised cars, home appliances (e.g. fridges), and smart watches, to digitalised clothes that can monitor health. IoT devices are often connected in wide-systems, typically described as 'smart houses' or 'smart cities'.

Cybersecurity is among the main concerns of governments, Internet users, technical and business communities. Cyberthreats and cyberattacks are on the increase, and so is the extent of the financial loss. 

Yet, when the Internet was first invented, security was not a concern for the inventors. In fact, the Internet was originally designed for use by a closed circle of (mainly) academics. Communication among its users was open.

Cybersecurity came into sharper focus with the Internet expansion beyond the circle of the Internet pioneers. The Internet reiterated the old truism that technology can be both enabling and threatening. What can be used to the advantage of society can also be used to its disadvantage.


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