A number of industry-leading cybersecurity and IoT organisations have joined forces to address IoT security challenges, demystify IoT security, and share best practices.

AT&T has been joined by IBM, Nokia, Palo Alto Networks, Symantec and Trustsonic to form the IoT Cybersecurity Alliance, and will use their collective expertise to investigate the challenges surrounding IoT security.

The group will research and raise awareness of ways to implement better security in IoT ecosystems.

According to the alliance, the key to IoT security lies in “protecting all devices at the endpoint, network, cloud and application layer, and using overarching threat analytics to study the overall ecosystem and designing products with a built-in, always-on security approach.”

The goals of the IoT Cybersecurity Alliance are fourfold:

  • Collaborate and research security challenges of IoT across verticals and use cases such as connected car, industrial, smart cities and healthcare
  • Dissect and solve for IoT security problems at every critical layer of security
  • Make security easy to access across the ecosystem, where security needs to exist across the value chain
  • Influence security standards and policies by using each group member’s leadership and expertise to raise awareness of cybersecurity and engage regularly with policymakers and other organizations

According to AT&T, it has seen a 3,198 percent increase the number of vulnerability scans against IoT devices over the last three years, and in a recent survey, it found that 58 percent of businesses that used IoT devices were not confident in their security.

Mo Katibeh, AT&T’s senior vice president of Advanced Solutions, said in a statement: “The explosive growth in the number of IoT devices is only expected to continue; therefore, so must the associated cybersecurity protections.”

“Today’s businesses are connecting devices ranging from robots on factory floors to pacemakers and refrigerators, [and] helping these organisations stay protected requires innovation across the whole IoT ecosystem to enable sustainable growth.”

While other member organisations like the Industrial Internet Consortium and the Open Interconnect Consortium both have security as a key concern in their interoperability efforts, the IoT Cybersecurity Alliance marks the first attempt by multinational organisations to band together to tackle the specific and ongoing security threat within IoT.

AT&T’s chief security officer Bill O’Hern said: “Be it a connected car, pacemaker or coffee maker, every connected device is a potential new entry point for cyberattacks, yet each device requires very different security considerations.”

“It has become essential for industry leaders and innovators like those in the founding members of this Alliance to work together to help the industry find more holistic security approaches for IoT.”