Microsoft, in a bid to add further into its IoT efforts, just announced a brand-new acquisition in the IoT security field.
(Photo : Mohammad Rezaie)
ZDNet reports that Microsoft just bought ReFirm Labs, a firmware security analysis startup, for an undisclosed amount. A handful of Microsoft officials confirmed that the deal went through last June 2, claiming that ReFirm’s integration into the Microsoft fold will bolster the latter’s chip-to-cloud protection services concerning IoT.
ReFirm is most well-known as the company that created the Binwalk Open Source Software, according to GeekWire. Binwalk was made to identify certain hidden security issues in firmware, which is the type of software that allows for basic hardware control. In layman’s terms, firmware “tells” the hardware how to operate.
It’s been quite evident that Microsoft has been aggressively pursuing security problems within the firmware that controls IoT devices, as noted by SecurityWeek. David Weston, a group manager for the team behind Windows, states that tech from the ReFirm Labs will be offered as a special feature in Azure Defender, which the company already offers for IoT.
This acquisition also comes almost exactly a year after CyberX, another IoT security firm, was also bought by Microsoft.
Read also: How IoT Devices are Rapidly Revolutionizing the World of Small Businesses
Microsoft and the Internet of Things: What Gives?
For the uninitiated, the Internet of Things (or IoT for short) refers to a roster consisting of digital devices that can wirelessly connect to the web in order to send or receive data. These devices basically “talk” to each other to automate a specific process or place, like a home. A perfect example would be a smartphone controlling the lights in a house using an app or, simply, any gadget like Amazon’s Alexa.
(Photo : Andres Urena)
Basically, everything connected with the Internet of Things is considered “smart.” Smart TVs, smartphones, smart locks, smart cars, etc. There are also proposals to make “smart” versions of everyday personal objects, such as toothbrushes, couches, and even cutlery. Now, try to imagine a “smart plate” that can track the calories in the food you’re eating.
The IoT, however, is extremely vulnerable to cyberattacks, which is why Microsoft’s acquisition of ReFirm Labs makes a lot of sense. A lot of IoT devices are sitting ducks to these attacks, mainly due to old/outdated security protocols. Any hacker with considerable enough skill can take advantage of these security lapses, and in turn, be able to intercept personal data.
Microsoft obviously recognizes this and thus is moving at a rapid pace to purge each and every IoT security lapse to make the integration of smart devices much safer to use in people’s daily lives.
The Future is in Mass Automation
If there’s one thing that spells efficiency, it’s automation. Sure, automated processes still require human input and maintenance. But once it’s all systems go, automated processes can basically speed up the development of modern society. With strengthened IoT security, mass automation is the future that a lot of experts believe will make human lives so much easier.
Related: The Risks of IoT and AI: What You Need To Know About Smart Technology
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Written by RJ Pierce
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