NUREMBURG, Germany – Put embedded applications and wireless connectivity together and what have you got? A hacker's paradise is the answer according to Stuart McClure, who provided a keynote speech on the opening day of the Embedded World conference here.
McClure, a former CTO of antivirus software company McAfee, now leads the security services startup Cylance Inc. (Irvine, Calif.), which has just announced $15 million in funding from Khosla Ventures and Fairhaven Capital.
McClure made the point that many companies are casual about secure design and then reluctant to close loop holes. He spoke of an insulin pump that Cylance was able to hack and alter the measured dosage delivered, with the obvious potential for harm to a user. “It's a feature,” the vendor said when shown.
There are about 10 billion embedded devices worldwide McClure estimated, and many have been designed without much thought to security, he added.
While in the early days of embedded systems this tended to be isolated, stand-alone items, increasingly devices are being created with multiple wireless and wired connections and that interconnectivity means that once security is breached there is the possibility to access more sensitive information.
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