What’s Stopping Education IoT?

College and University campuses could greatly benefit from the Internet of Things, so why is adoption in higher ed lagging?

Security Vulnerabilities

Recent high-profile attacks have resurfaced security concerns with IoT devices. Akamai’s Threat Research team recently reported on a case where millions of IoT devices were being used as the source for web-based attacks. When we dug a little deeper, we found evidence that these IoT devices were being used as proxies to route malicious traffic due to some default configuration weaknesses in their operating systems. While this has been reported before, the vulnerability has resurfaced with the increase of connected devices.

With other, non-IoT types of devices (including general purpose computers), owners can patch or reconfigure their systems to close vulnerabilities. In the IoT, device owners are often at the mercy of vendor updates in order to remove their devices from the pool of botnet nodes. In some cases, IoT devices are entirely un-patchable and will remain vulnerable until removed from service. And once malicious users access the web administration console of these devices, they can then compromise the device’s data and in some cases, take over the machine.

Since so many of these types of attacks have occurred recently it is likely that addressing the route of the problem will be a top priority this year. Government agencies may very well implement specific security requirements for these devices, and certainly work is done on a continuous basis to improve cybersecurity across all networks.

IoT adoption will continue to advance across all industries and make particularly great strides in education as wearables become more prevalent in the classroom. The benefits from IoT devices of all types and the data they generate to students, teachers and administrators are innumerable. But we must continue to make progress towards increased IPv6 adoption and securing these devices if IoT is to reach its full potential. All signs are indicating that we will and that 2017 could be the year for education IoT.

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