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Wednesday, 21 September 2016 09:09

IoT and a new type of threat for Linux

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Linux and IoT

Linux has played a significant role in establishing IoT devices as increasingly important parts of our everyday lives, both at home and in the enterprise. Linux based OSes make it easy for developers to create applications that can run on anything, from a fridge to a car, and as a result 73 percent of IoT developers use Linux to run applications on.

Now, however, questions of security are arising. With IoT gesturing in a brave new world of connected devices, businesses must cope with a greater number of entry points and vulnerabilities, with security the top concern in the industry.

By placing such a burden on Linux’s security capabilities, there are now real fears that IoT devices will be left exposed and businesses will pay the price.

Security challenges

With Linux running across desktop, server and embedded services all at the same time, it now faces much greater security challenges than ever before. This is a concern for developers who wish to ride the IoT zeitgeist, with the OS facing unique threats across each of the three different deployment models.

Linux was initially designed to provide a Unix-like operating system on modern (at the time) commodity hardware, and the Linux kernel has come to represent openness for users. The strength for Linux is that it is these ideals which make it perfect for innovation, and well-suited for the development of IoT. These low cost, commoditized hardware trends, are the same factors fueling the explosion of the IoT.

With such a significant number of devices running on Linux, the aforementioned security issues remain and are a real concern for businesses and IoT vendors alike.

What’s next?

There are a number of issues surrounding the security of Linux, from the monolithic kernel model to the infinite number of packages running on top of it. Each of these vulnerabilities is exacerbated by the sheer volume of devices as well as the lifecycle management challenges associated with managing such an unruly swarm of network connected devices.

Do we need to reconsider our approach to development of operating systems for embedded devices? Yes. In reality, will something as pervasive and dependable as Linux emerge to be the new standard for all the things? Highly unlikely.

Linux and IoT

 

Linux has played a significant role in establishing IoT devices as increasingly important parts of our everyday lives, both at home and in the enterprise. Linux based OSes make it easy for developers to create applications that can run on anything, from a fridge to a car, and as a result 73 percent of IoT developers use Linux to run applications on.

 

Now, however, questions of security are arising. With IoT gesturing in a brave new world of connected devices, businesses must cope with a greater number of entry points and vulnerabilities, with security the top concern in the industry.

 

By placing such a burden on Linux’s security capabilities, there are now real fears that IoT devices will be left exposed and businesses will pay the price.

 

Security challenges

 

With Linux running across desktop, server and embedded services all at the same time, it now faces much greater security challenges than ever before. This is a concern for developers who wish to ride the IoT zeitgeist, with the OS facing unique threats across each of the three different deployment models.

 

Linux was initially designed to provide a Unix-like operating system on modern (at the time) commodity hardware, and the Linux kernel has come to represent openness for users. The strength for Linux is that it is these ideals which make it perfect for innovation, and well-suited for the development of IoT. These low cost, commoditized hardware trends, are the same factors fueling the explosion of the IoT.

 

With such a significant number of devices running on Linux, the aforementioned security issues remain and are a real concern for businesses and IoT vendors alike.

 

What’s next?

 

There are a number of issues surrounding the security of Linux, from the monolithic kernel model to the infinite number of packages running on top of it. Each of these vulnerabilities is exacerbated by the sheer volume of devices as well as the lifecycle management challenges associated with managing such an unruly swarm of network connected devices.

 

Do we need to reconsider our approach to development of operating systems for embedded devices? Yes. In reality, will something as pervasive and dependable as Linux emerge to be the new standard for all the things? Highly unlikely.

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