Cisco IoT Threat Defense Debuts at Cisco Live

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(Blog by Marc Blackmer, originally posted to the Cisco Security blog)

Today we’re launching IoT Threat Defense, and it’s the most comprehensive security solution yet for the Internet of Things. And it couldn’t come a moment too soon.

Let’s be frank. IoT devices, on the whole, aren’t capable of defending themselves from cyber-attacks. That means they can provide a means of access to their host networks by bad guys, or they can be weaponized to attack third parties. It’s not necessarily their fault that they’re vulnerable. Many IoT devices, whether in the consumer space, IT, or industrial, tend to have enough compute power to perform the functions for which they were designed. There just isn’t the compute capacity for security. There are also competitive pressures that force manufacturers to strip functionality, with security usually being cut first, in order to remain competitive. And sometimes, the device manufacturer is new to the security world, or the hardware was built with no intention of it ever being networked.

The reason for a vulnerability, from a defense perspective, is irrelevant. A vulnerability is a vulnerability, regardless of the cause, and it must be remediated – or at the very least, mitigated.

Another significant characteristic that must be considered in respect to defending the IoT is scale. Gartner estimates that there will be 20 billion connected things by 2020, and we are expecting even more at 25-30 billion in that timeframe. When you stop and think about it, no matter which estimate proves accurate, that’s a ton of stuff to protect. And the diversity of things – lighting, environmental control systems and sensors, building management systems, plus rogue connected coffee pots, and whatever else people sneak into their cubes – isn’t going to make it any easier.

Enter IoT Threat Defense.

Organizations are exposed to these IoT-based threats now, so we said to ourselves, “What concerns are we hearing about the most from our customers? In what verticals is there the most urgency? And what can we do for them today?” (No, I’m not aware of anybody actually saying those words, but it does sum up our approach nicely.) The first verticals we’re addressing are healthcare (specifically, connected medical devices), manufacturing, and electric utilities. We then identified four areas in which the most help is needed: Extensible, scalable segmentation, visibility and analysis, remote access, and advisory and technical services.

We identified a set of technologies and services to support the pillars of the solution, and then brought those technologies into the lab with real gear and real malware to test our integrations and efficacy in defending against those attacks. The result is IoT Threat Defense, a validated architecture of leading technologies and services, specifically tested to detect and defeat IoT threats.

If you’re at Cisco Live this week, there are several ways to learn more:

You can check out the many IoT Threat Defense Learning Labs sessions in the Security Village;Visit the different product and services booths for demos of the individual technologies;Or, come by the Industries area to learn more about how IoT Threat Defense functions in industrial control environments.

Of course, you can visit us any time at

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