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January 30, 2015

Microsoft singles out cybercriminals in IoT strategy

The company is building many IoT projects and products to ensure security and privacy.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

Microsoft has shed light on its strategy for the Internet of Things, which aims to address the growing risks of cybercriminals attacking the emerging market.

In a blog post, Clemens Vasters, principal architect of Microsoft Azure IoT, revealed how the company is building many IoT projects and products to ensure security and privacy.

"Any serious discussion about IoT these days must include the overall security of connected "things" and systems, in addition to data privacy," he said.

He pointed to the release of Windows XP SP and the introduction of the Security Development Lifecycle, noting how Microsoft’s continued investment in security are now a key part of its engineering practices.

"The Internet of Things takes IT to the heart of companies’ core businesses, into our homes, and — in the health industry — quite literally to our hearts," he said.

"We cannot make compromises in security here, as a company, as a partner ecosystem, as industry organisations or as a world community."

He added: "There is reason to be concerned that effective security sometimes falls victim to cost considerations, and that established best practices and procedures for IoT products and services are sometimes left behind in the search for a "cheap" path to security — a path that does not exist.

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"Even worse, we are seeing cases in which security is a purely secondary concern, and we hear, "Why would anyone ever want to hack this?" Well, because they can."

"As such, we are participating in the development of many IoT projects and products, as our technologies are leveraged and our advice is sought. Many of these experiences are quite sobering."

Vasters added how Microsoft is also providing "strong assurances" for customer data stored in its Azure cloud data centres.

"And because this emerging technology is indeed so close to our hearts, we also must take privacy extremely seriously…We strongly encourage our customers to respect the choices of their own customers as they build products and services that use our platform as their foundation," he said.


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