Welcome!

@ThingsExpo Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Pramod Pawar, Zakia Bouachraoui

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, @CloudExpo, Cloud Security, @ThingsExpo

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Feed Post

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

API Security Lessons from Fisher-Price's Smart Toy Bear Security Flaw
By Ryan Pinkham

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:

  • The name of the toy - Smart Toy Bear - is strangely close to the name of our company SmartBear Software.
  • More importantly, the story caught our attention because the security vulnerability brought up an important reminder about the important issue of security in today's connected world.

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?
When you think of the Internet of Things (IoT), think of connecting anything, everything, together.

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
In the case of the Smart Toy Bear, the vulnerability wasn't between the toy's app and the company's database. Programmers are reliant on those APIs, thus they are top of mind when it comes to ensuring that their information is secure.

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
In our upcoming eBook, API Testing in the IoT: How to Succeed in an Increasingly Connected World, which will be released later this month, we share different perspectives on API testing in the Internet of Things from experts from throughout the API world.

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
"There are hardware failures but considerably fewer of them have vulnerabilities that will give you access to something in the machine or system itself - a switch could go bad but it's usually the software. We teach the importance of making sure the code doesn't have bugs and all the testing that needs to be done on the software side as opposed to the hardware side. Software testing and software development for the Internet of Things is on the cutting edge because that's where the vulnerabilities are... Start with the device. Think about the security for the mobile app and the communication between the device and the mobile app, what protocol they use."

Bruce de Grazia, program chair of the cyber security management and policy department at University of Maryland, University College

2. Share your knowledge
"Let's list the top ten vulnerabilities and allow people to learn how to protect from them. We've been talking about the same ten types of attacks for decades and no one's fixing them. And now you have people building these IoT devices and it's even worse, and they are low security."

Brian Knopf founder of BRK Security and 20-year veteran of security research and testing

3. Don't wait for regulations
"There's obviously a lot of concern about privacy but I think we're in one of those situations like smoking or sugary foods - the gain to getting all that data is very instant but the problems seem a long way off, and so you end up not being firm enough with guidelines until further down the line and governments have to step in to set rules."

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By SmartBear Blog

As the leader in software quality tools for the connected world, SmartBear supports more than two million software professionals and over 25,000 organizations in 90 countries that use its products to build and deliver the world’s greatest applications. With today’s applications deploying on mobile, Web, desktop, Internet of Things (IoT) or even embedded computing platforms, the connected nature of these applications through public and private APIs presents a unique set of challenges for developers, testers and operations teams. SmartBear's software quality tools assist with code review, functional and load testing, API readiness as well as performance monitoring of these modern applications.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
"MobiDev is a Ukraine-based software development company. We do mobile development, and we're specialists in that. But we do full stack software development for entrepreneurs, for emerging companies, and for enterprise ventures," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...
Machine learning has taken residence at our cities' cores and now we can finally have "smart cities." Cities are a collection of buildings made to provide the structure and safety necessary for people to function, create and survive. Buildings are a pool of ever-changing performance data from large automated systems such as heating and cooling to the people that live and work within them. Through machine learning, buildings can optimize performance, reduce costs, and improve occupant comfort by ...
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.