For Darwinian theory adherents, you would think such a pairing unlikely in the extreme as Linux was spawned specifically to combat the monopolistic reaches of major OS providers like Microsoft (MS). But, according to an article in Hacker News, the Redmond, WA giant has built its own Linux kernel to power its new integrated security chip/cloud services offering called Azure Sphere.
Why would MS dabble in such dark territory? For financial reasons, naturally. Let’s look at what is going on with this announcement. The news is full of stories about the vulnerabilities created by the rapid adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. As a case in point, we recently wrote a post about a bad actor using a smart thermostat to hack into a casino. The bottom line is simple, if it connects to your network, it has the potential to be hacked.
So, back to MS and their very own Linux distro. Where is the money for them in this effort? Glad you asked, it comes in the form of a total package designed to secure all IoT devices and manage the security threat they pose. The solution has three main components:
- Azure Sphere-certified microcontrollers (MCUs)
- Azure Sphere OS
- Azure Sphere Security Service
In MS’s own words, their solution:
“provides security that starts in the hardware and extends to the cloud, delivering holistic security that protects, detects, and responds to threats—so they're always prepared"
This is actually a very good idea because most IoT devices are manufactured without considering security. This isn’t a slam against the manufacturers. Anything not demanded by a consumer adds to cost. Because competition is ferocious, even pennies a device may make a product uncompetitive.
The problem MS will face is overcoming this price sensitivity. Customers are going to have to require this level of security for manufacturers to respond. Corporate customers are the most likely to respond first, especially those with a substantial investment in MS products.
Probably the last place to adopt an idea like MS is promoting will be at the consumer level. That is unfortunate because a digital lifestyle with all its conveniences requires robust security. Maybe all it will take is a clever hacker to attack an Alexa-style device at the consumer level and work back upstream to the corporate network to hasten expansion to us mere mortal customers.
Until that day, we need to practice safe computing, secure our networks as best we can, and take advantage of the most secure communications package currently available, the hardware/software offering from CRIP.TO. When you use Black and Shield together, your identity, anonymity, and data are encrypted in a manner that makes decryption practically impossible.
Let CRIP.TO give you the freedom to communicate fearlessly while we wait for a secure IoT to make it into our homes and offices.
Be sure to read about our ICO when you visit our site and help CRIP.TO shape the future of secure communications!