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posted by on Friday June 02 2017, @08:58PM   Printer-friendly
from the looming-global-IoT-shitstorm dept.

TechDirt reports

In the wake of the Wannacry ransomware, University of Pennsylvania researcher Sandy Clark has proposed something along these lines: firmware expiration dates. Clark argues that we've already figured out how to standardize our relationships with automobiles, with mandated regular inspection, maintenance and repairs governed by manufacturer recalls, DOT highway maintenance, and annual owner-obligated inspections. As such, she suggests similar requirements be imposed on internet-connected devices:

A requirement that all IoT software be upgradeable throughout the expected lifetime of the product. Many IoT devices on the market right now contain software (firmware) that cannot be patched even against known vulnerabilities.

A minimum time limit by which manufacturers must issue patches or software upgrades to fix known vulnerabilities.

A minimum time limit for users to install patches or upgrades, perhaps this could be facilitated by insurance providers (perhaps discounts for automated patching, and different price points for different levels of risk)."

Of course, none of this would be easy, especially when you consider this is a global problem that needs coordinated, cross-government solutions in an era where agreement on much of anything is cumbersome. And like previous suggestions, there's no guarantee that whoever crafted these requirements would do a particularly good job; that overseas companies would be consistently willing to comply; or that these mandated software upgrades would actually improve device security. And imagine being responsible for determining all of this for the 50 billion looming internet connected devices worldwide?

That's why many networking engineers aren't looking so much at the devices as they are at the networks they run on. Network operators say they can design more intelligent networks that can quickly spot, de-prioritize, or quarantine infected devices before they contribute to the next Wannacry or historically-massive DDoS attack. But again, none of this is going to be easy, and it's going to require multi-pronged, multi-country, ultra-flexible solutions. And while we take the time to hash out whatever solution we ultimately adopt, keep in mind that the 50 million IoT device count projected by 2020--is expected to balloon to 82 billion by 2025.


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  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Friday June 02 2017, @10:43PM (1 child)

    by c0lo (156) on Friday June 02 2017, @10:43PM (#519607) Journal

    And just like dodgy corner stores, alot of shops will have many, many boxes with dates in the past..

    Mmmm.... low prices for unused e-junk. Maybe I'd buy one to see if I can root the firmware and replace it with my own.
    But then again, with low prices for components, why not build one from scratch in the first place.

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  • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Saturday June 03 2017, @01:12AM

    by MostCynical (2589) on Saturday June 03 2017, @01:12AM (#519665) Journal

    hours and hours building custom pin sockets, further hours building a custom boot-loader, further hours debugging everything... then it works, and it is still likely to just a be a novelty toy...

    fun, if you are inclined that way (and if you have the time!)

    --
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