If you’ve been following the CES show in Las Vegas this week, the amount of cool toys, flying taxis, next- generation video screens, and other gadgets is absolutely amazing. It feels like the next wave of a technology revolution is upon us and I want to join the band.

However, my ego is nudging my Freudian id to look closely at the product brands and their security and data privacy histories before I make any judgements I may regret. While the technology and its applications may be cool, and we all clamor to get our hands on it, we need to exercise some discipline in contemplating the security of the products and their potential long-term ramifications before we consider any of them for personal use or in our businesses. This leads to the basis of this blog post.

All new interconnected technology (IoT and otherwise, whether using 5G, AI, machine learning, etc.) should be touting its inherent security as a brand to potential buyers. And, it’s particularly important that security was not a bolted-on afterthought in the design, development, and release of the solution—but rather a core part of it, without which, the product is considered incomplete or defective.

Users should be able to trust the product to secure and protect information. The product should be free of vulnerabilities, and resistant to basic attack vectors and foolish development mistakes. If you think this already happens with the products you purchase today, you are sorely mistaken. Let’s take a quick look at a few new products that have delighted users, while garnering widespread reproach when their glaring security oversights made recent headlines:

  • On December 13th of 2018, Forbes.com reported that a 3D printed face was able to unlock the facial recognition system of several major Android phone manufacturers. In the tests, security researchers proved that the facial recognition technology was fallible—only Apple’s iPhone was not tricked by this nifty exploit. We hope designers of mobile devices using the Android OS, and all the new devices being released based on this platform going forward, take serious note of this vulnerability.
  • On January 10th 2019, Brian Krebs published a an article on the security risks of Fuze Cards. This innovative solution to store multiple debt and credit cards on a single user programmable card fell victim to exploitation by cyberthreat actors who used the cards to host stolen credit card information. While the attack vector seems basic, cyber criminals used the cards with stolen credit information to purchase items. And if one number was denied, the scammers instantly switched to another number programmed on the same card. Since the original card is not present, the Fuze Cards acted as the ultimate white plastic to carry out their attacks.
  • Also on January 10th 2019, The Intercept reported on a startling privacy disclosure at Ring.com. The popular doorbell security solution purportedly made live video feeds and the historical database accessible to delegated engineers. While the access was not considered widespread, and was clarified in commentary by Ring, it does demonstrate that access to this data can be viewed and decrypted by insiders when granted the specific privileges. While many folks may think no one should, or could, see who is at my front door aside from themselves—or perhaps a watchful neighbor, this incident indicates that the video content is not as secure as you think it might be and, within Ring.com, the certain privileges allow the disclosure of your information.

The brand of security for your product is just as important as the product itself—product and security should be inseparable. If you are looking for an example, consider Apple. Apple does not attend CES; for whatever reason. However, Apple did tease conference attendees with this mega banner outside of the SpringHill Marriot, stating “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.” Their point was simple. Apple security on the iPhone is just as important as the product itself. This is something the three examples above failed to demonstrate when their products were implemented in practice. Unfortunately, many technology vendors fail to demonstrate their own security as a brand.

While you will not catch BeyondTrust at a conference like CES, you will see us at events like Gartner IAM, RSA, and McAfee mPower. In fact, BeyondTrust was named a leader in both Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Privileged Access Management as well as in Forrester’s Privileged Identity Management Wave. We take the security of our solutions very seriously when protecting your most important assets and credentials, and back our solutions up with periodic penetration testing, design and code reviews, and Common Criteria Certification. We represent our products as security and information technology solutions backed by our security brand and experience. Our products are cool, secure, and help solve many of the authentication problems new solutions face have today; from the cloud, IoT, to DevOps. We’re very proud that thousands of our customers rely on BeyondTrust products to enable them to securely explore new technology frontiers and business opportunities.

Learn more about how BeyondTrust can securely store and manage your organization’s privileged access.