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Summer 2011 Device Developers' Security Report

Device Developers Raise Red Flags

In its Summer 2011 survey, Mocana focused exclusively on the engineers that design and build the billions of connected devices that surround us. They wanted to understand the attitudes and opinions of the technical architects of the emerging “Internet of Things.” While there is certainly a lot of sturm und drang in the technology press about the urgency of the mobile and device security problem, how do the folks that actually build these devices feel? Are they worried? More importantly, have security problems in these devices been whitewashed, or even covered up, by manufacturers?

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Securing Embedded DevicesMocana distributed the survey in July 2011 to over 100,000 engineers and developers that work in the embedded devices field. The survey collected over 800 completed responses from technical leaders representing virtually every type of Internet-connected non-PC device, including smartphones, tablets, industrial automation, medical devices, military, automotive, aviation, gaming and home appliances, to name but a few. Industry analysts estimate that these connected devices already outnumber PC’s on the Internet by about five to one, and conservative projections put the device-to-PC ratio closer to 100 to 1 within the next ten years.

Not surprisingly, most device engineering teams implied that security is, indeed, important to them, with 58% of responders disagreeing with the statement, “Security isn’t a big priority for our device design teams.” But at the same time, it appears that few teams actually have access to the security expertise that they need, with only 39% of responders agreeing that they could, in fact, find embedded security know-how when they required it.

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