Telefónica diversifies into IoT security

The inventive boffin arm of Spanish operator Telefónica – Telefónica Tech – has developed a security monitoring service for IoT environments.

The service, which for some reason doesn’t appear have a name, inspects network traffic to visualize the assets connected to the network, analyses and highlights vulnerabilities, and detects potential threats, we are told. It includes technology based on some stuff from Nozomi Networks, and is managed by teams of IoT specialists across Telefónica Tech’s global network of 11 security operations centres.

The service analyses the customer’s network traffic through the use of ‘passive probes’ installed in the company’s infrastructure. These are supposed to interpret industrial protocols to identify connected assets and their vulnerabilities, and analytics tools can determine anomalies and threats in the environment. Alerts are then delivered which contain meta data which should let the on-site manager know the nature and location of the threat.

“This service, based on Nozomi Networks’ technology, enhances the ability of our SOCs to monitor the security of companies operating in industrial environments and critical infrastructures,” said Rames Sarwat, Product & Innovation Director at Telefónica Tech. “It will help accelerate the digital transformation of these businesses. Expanding our services allows us to be at the forefront and offer the most innovative solutions to our customers.”

The service will initially be sold in Spain but will then rollout elsewhere.

The threat of someone hacking into an unprotected bit of IoT kit and using it a ‘backdoor’ to creep into the wider ecosystem and do some damage has long been a mark against large scale IoT adoption. Certainly an argument can be made that whatever spurious benefit you might get from hooking up things like kitchen utensils to the internet are outweighed by even the whisp of a security threat.

You’d feel mighty stupid if you ended up getting your bank cleared out because you fancied whacking the kettle on from another room through an app – never mind if you brought a nuclear power plant to meltdown because that autonomous robot cleaner that mops the floors was caught with its trousers down by a hacker, so to speak.

These sorts of things are never going to make for the most jaw-dropping announcements, but the safer they make IoT particularly in the contexts of industry and manufacturing, the better for the market.


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