Cloud Security Authors: Elizabeth White, John Katrick, Pat Romanski, Rostyslav Demush, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Cloud Security, @DXWorldExpo

@ThingsExpo: Blog Feed Post

Gating the IoT | @ThingsExpo #IoT #M2M #API #Security

There are twice as many 'things' in the house as the average 3.14 people per household in the US in 2015

Your car. My toaster. Our lights. The neighbor’s thermostat.

With an average of 7.8 connected devices per home, according to recent surveys, there are twice as many “things” in the house as the average 3.14 people per household in the US in 2015.

And all of them are “talking.” Not all talk to each other, yet, though the foundation for that is clearly laid out. But all of them talk to apps which talk to them over the Internet.

When you or I interact with that app, we do so via HTTP (hopefully secured). Whether it’s via a native mobile app that uses APIs or a modern web app is irrelevant; it is safe to say that both do so via HTTP.

But when things report in, it’s not so clear that they do so using HTTP. Oh, some do, certainly. But as the form factor for these things decreases it becomes increasingly difficult to manage power and compute in a way that’s supportive of heavier frameworks and protocols, like HTTP. That’s why IoT specific protocols have emerged. Protocols like MQTT (MQ Telemetry Transport) and AMQP (Advanced Message Queuing Protocol) that eliminate reliance on HTTP (but remain TCP/IP based) and even those like CoAP (Constrained Application Protocol – RFC 7252), which seek to minimize the impact of HTTP by optimizing a subset specifically for machine-to-machine (M2M) communications.

Publish/subscribe (usually simplified to pub/sub for brevity) models are nothing new in the world of applications. Message queuing is one of the ways that applications have always shared data, long before the days of the Internet became popular. Back then we implemented using C/C++. Then Java took the world (and the Internet) by storm and we learned how to use JMS (Java Message Service).

All pub/sub based protocols can be distilled down to a single, underlying concept: messages are “routed” based on “topics”.

This should sound familiar to those of you who have to “route” URIs. Page routing, app routing, content switching. We call it many different things but ultimately, it’s the same concept. Given a unique identifier in the application layer, requests are routed to the designated endpoint. With pub/sub protocols that is a message broker. For URIs, it’s generally an app or API hosted on a web server.

The difference with IoT protocols is that they are not HTTP-based, for the most part. They ride atop TCP/IP but are purposefully designed to be lightweight. This means that the (growing) data originating from the 7.8 devices in your home is being transported via something other than HTTP.

The thing is that the receiver (the message broker) needs to be scaled and secured, too. One of the complications, as it were, is that “things” like to have persistent connections. That’s because communication is bidirectional and asynchronous. Setting up connections via TCP is well-understood, and it’s a laborious chore that consumes CPU cycles that introduce latency into the equation. Latency that today’s consumers don’t tolerate. A persistent connection enables things to constantly communicate if necessary, and to receive updates with the immediacy that is not only desirable to some consumers, but necessary for others (industrial IoT relies on immediacy). This puts pressure on brokers in terms of capacity, because every connection counts against their total capacity to handle things. That generally means some sort of load balancing-capable proxy in front of the brokers to ensure messages are delivered to their destination. Devices generate a lot of data, after all, and they’re expected to work 24/7.

That, in turn, puts pressure on security ops to ensure that every connection counts. You don’t want to waste resources on a connection to a thing that isn’t valid. You don’t want to use up CPU cycle processing messages that aren’t valid.

While most attacks today have focused on harnessing the power of millions (literally millions) of compromised devices around the Internet, like any public-facing service, the IoT message brokers in the data center (cloud or on-prem) are vulnerable to attack, and in particular, to DoS attacks. That’s because they rely on the concept of topics as a core processing trigger. Topics might include “house/temperature” or “/house/temperature/alerts” or simply “house/#”. Those topics inform the message broker what to do and how to handle the data.

But what happens if it receives a topic it doesn’t understand? And what if that happens a lot. Like, more than the broker can handle?

Exactly. Resources are needlessly consumed and the broker might become overwhelmed and unable to process legitimate messages. It’s the same old story – exhaust the endpoint and deny service.

So like most web-based, public-facing services, an IoT broker – whether speaking MQTT or CoAP or some other pub/sub protocol – needs some level of protection against malicious attempts to confuse and confound it. Hence, you’re going to need to gate the IoT.

This is where I note that this will be an emerging market. Like XML and SOA and APIs before it, there will be IoT gateways. They will be built with the premise of protecting and scaling message brokers, and they will speak the language of the IoT. To do that, however, the gateway will need to speak “secure” protocols, too, like TLS. Inbound data might be malicious, but it’s hard to tell under all those encryption. Gateways, then, will need to the visibility to peer inside messages and inspect topics to ensure validity before passing them on to message brokers.

We might not call them IoT gateways. We might call them IoT proxies, or tack on a specific protocol and call them MQTT proxies or gateways. But at the end of the day they will operate on the same principles that have long defended and scaled the protocols that enable communication over the Internet. Whatever they are called, these solutions will need to be able to “speak” the language of IoT, namely protocols like MQTT, CoAP, and AMQP. That’s because they must be able to understand how to identify topics and execute logic to determine the validity of those topics, to prevent brokers from needlessly wasting precious resources on processing and dealing with those that are not legitimate, and may in fact be malicious.

If we’ve learned anything from the application and messaging protocols of the past, it’s that they can and will be manipulated and exploited for nefarious purposes. Whether it’s to exfiltrate data or to cause a denial of service, attackers will be targeting the systems on which this rapidly growing market of IoT is dependent. An ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of cure.

Stay safe out there.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Predicting the future has never been more challenging - not because of the lack of data but because of the flood of ungoverned and risk laden information. Microsoft states that 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. Expectations and reliance on data are being pushed to the limits, as demands around hybrid options continue to grow.
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
As IoT continues to increase momentum, so does the associated risk. Secure Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) is ranked as one of the most important technology areas of IoT. Driving this trend is the realization that secure support for IoT devices provides companies the ability to deliver high-quality, reliable, secure offerings faster, create new revenue streams, and reduce support costs, all while building a competitive advantage in their markets. In this session, we will use customer use cases...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of bus...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that "Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO" has announced that its Call for Papers is now open. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Financial enterprises in New York City, London, Singapore, and other world financial capitals are embracing a new generation of smart, automated FinTech that eliminates many cumbersome, slow, and expe...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICOHOLDER named "Media Sponsor" of Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO. ICOHOLDER give you detailed information and help the community to invest in the trusty projects. Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO has opened its Call for Papers. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO also offers s...
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.