The Security Challenges of the Internet of Things and Ways To Improve

Dear Silicon Flatirons Friends and Supporters,

A few weeks ago, internet users around the world suffered on account of a massive distributed denial of service attack on core Internet infrastructure. As a number of press accounts have explained, tens of millions of unsecured “Internet of Things” devices, including Internet-connected cameras and digital video recorders, were used without their owners’ knowledge to launch a major denial of service attack that disrupted access to a number of major websites.

At Silicon Flatirons, we work hard to “Know What’s Next,” and think hard about pressing policy challenges. To that end, we assembled a group of leaders from government, academia, industry, and civil society this June to talk through the security issues raised by the Internet of Things (called “IoT” for short). In particular, we focused on how IoT technology is increasingly being used for mission critical purposes. (A mission-critical IoT device is one that could create a serious risk, such as loss of life or considerable economic loss, with failure.)

Today, Silicon Flatirons released a Flatirons Report that emerged from last June’s Roundtable. This report, entitled Future of the Internet of Things in Mission Critical Applications, discusses the future of IoT and the role of government oversight, if any, of security and reliability concerns, including spectrum interference.

As you’ll see in the Report, we recognize and address multiple security challenges associated with IoT devices and bad actors who wish to do harm. We stress the importance of manufacturers understanding these inherent security risks and connecting with consumers so that they may do more to prevent or mitigate potential harms. Additionally, as IoT devices become ever more popular, now is the time for federal agencies to work closely with industry to develop an IoT strategy.

Going forward, IoT devices are going to play an increasingly important role in a connected world. Crafting solutions now with all relevant parties involved is the best way to ensure the best outcomes to this important concern. Silicon Flatirons will continue to address issues related to IoT, on the cybersecurity front, on the spectrum front, and on developing new strategies of governance. For past work on such topics, see these reports: Risk Assessment in Spectrum Policy, Internet Governance, and Cybersecurity and Securing Infrastructure.
As you have thoughts and suggestions on the topic of IoT security and spectrum enforcement, or reactions to the report, please let me know (at


Executive Director
Silicon Flatirons

Know What’s Next