Software developer Steve Castle won $25K for his “IoT Watchdog” mobile application in the Federal Trade Commission’s contest to develop a tool to fix vulnerabilities in internet of things home devices, the FTC announced.
“IoT Watchdog” tells users if the security measures on their devices are out of date or if their network is insecure. The app would scan the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth networks of the user’s home, catalogue all connected devices, determine whether they are operating with out-of-date software or have other security vulnerabilities, and give instructions on how to update the software and repair vulnerabilities on each device.
“The full promise of the Internet of Things could be lost if consumers do not trust their devices. By improving security for consumers, the ideas generated by our contest will help the IoT flourish,” Acting FTC Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen, said in a statement.
There are more than 8 billion connected devices in use worldwide, security research company Gartner Inc. estimates. As the number of devices that each person owns multiplies, it will become harder and harder to make sure each is secure and updated. Connected things are expected to more than double to approximately 20 billion by 2020, Gartner estimates.
The FTC honorable mention-winning “Persistent Internal Network Containment” (PINC) tool, developed by Silicon Valley engineers BJ Black and Michael Birmingham, isolates each in-home connected device on a virtual network so users can track and monitor their IoT home devices and protect their sensitive data.
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