From the Blogosphere
API Security Lessons from Fisher-Price’s Smart Toy Bear Security Flaw By @RyanPinkham | @ThingsExpo #IoT
The security flaw is just the latest example of how security is changing the Internet of Things
By: SmartBear Blog
Feb. 14, 2016 02:00 PM
API Security Lessons from Fisher-Price's Smart Toy Bear Security Flaw
Earlier this week it was reported that researchers at Boston-based security company, Rapid7, identified several security flaws in an app connected to a new toy from Mattel's Fisher-Price brand.
The news of the security vulnerability caught our attention for a few reasons:
Luckily, the vulnerability identified by Rapid7 has since been fixed.
But the security flaw - which could have allowed a hacker to steal a child's name, birthdate and gender, along with other data - is just the latest example of how security is changing the Internet of Things.
What is the Internet of Things?
Smart devices like thermostats that can check on security while you're away, or in this case - a teddy bear that can learn the name of a child and share information with an application on a parent's mobile device - have become more and more popular in recent years. These physical devices can connect with each other or other virtual devices or applications (better known as an object to programmers) through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).
APIs enable smart devices to share information, which is why they are susceptible to security vulnerabilities and need to be tested.
How security testing could have helped the Smart Toy Bear
The vulnerability was identified in an API between the toy and the application, which is more likely to be overlooked because it only shares a few pieces of personal information - including a child's name, birthday, gender, and language. But much like a bank needs to protect against hackers stealing personal banking information from users of their mobile apps, toy companies also need to protect the information of their younger users. This is important for the peace of mind of the parent and the safety of the child.
With the proper testing, Fisher Price could have identified the security vulnerability.
Testing your API security allows you to protect your services and consumers against the most common security vulnerabilities by using a complement of prebuilt tests and scans. With a tool like Secure Pro, you can simulate attached against REST and SOAP services so that you know they are safe. You can also layer your security tests on top of existing test cases to validate that those steps won't open any doors to malicious attacks.
Paul Bruce, product marketing manager for SmartBear's Ready! API product, explains:
"The Internet of Things by its very nature evolves as a dynamic patchwork of hardware, protocols, and experiences. Security is a vital part of the IoT ecosystem in all its layers, but many organizations still treat it like an as-needed luxury item. Large enterprises under regulatory compliance and businesses that understand the pain of a security breach have something significant to teach the lean, minimum-viable-product driven IoT startups: deferring security decisions in your IoT solutions makes you unattractive to attentive investors. No matter how large or small your organization is, a failure in security is a failure of business acumen and brand."
Security testing in the Internet of Things
As you may expect, security was a top concern amongst the experts that we spoke with when developing the new eBook.
Whether you're an API provider that works with smart devices like the Smart Toy Bear, or develop applications that depend on APIs to provide critical functions - API security needs to be a top priority.
To help your organization avoid being the focus of the next high profile security news story and more importantly - to help you avoid putting your information or the information of your users at risk - we wanted to share a few of the key security lessons from API experts:
1. Test your application and API
Bruce de Grazia, program chair of the cyber security management and policy department at University of Maryland, University College
2. Share your knowledge
Brian Knopf founder of BRK Security and 20-year veteran of security research and testing
3. Don't wait for regulations
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