AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint rally around security standard for IoT

Five emerging trends are reshaping endpoint security (Image AlexLMX / iStockPhoto)
Security continues to remain a major topic in the tech and telecom industry. (AlexLMX/iStockPhoto)

U.S. wireless industry association CTIA announced a new security certification program targeting the IoT space.

“By offering certification for IoT devices built from the ground up with cybersecurity in mind, the program will protect consumers and wireless infrastructure, while creating a more secure foundation for smart cities, connected cars, mHealth and other IoT applications,” the CTIA said in an announcement

The news is noteworthy as it signals an attempt by the wireless industry to get ahead of what could be a major issue affecting the overall IoT industry. Indeed, just today, research firm ABI noted that power and water grid companies will spend over $8 billion globally on cyber-securing utility infrastructures this year—a spend that’s only a small part of the overall IoT industry. 

CTIA said its program builds on IoT security recommendations from the NTIA and NIST. 

“Establishing a common and readily achievable security program that protects devices, consumers and our networks is a critical initiative as the IoT market continues to grow exponentially, both in the U.S. and globally,” said AT&T’s Cameron Coursey, VP of the carrier’s IoT solutions business, in a statement

Aside from the nation's top four wireless network operators, other companies signing on to CTIA's announcement included Ericsson and Nokia.  

It’s worth noting that the GSMA—the worldwide trade group for the wireless industry—also offers security recommendations for the IoT

CTIA’s role as an administrator for IoT security makes sense. The group has in the past handled certification and interoperability work for things like handsets, text messaging interoperability and, more recently, product certification program for LTE equipment in the 3.5 GHz CBRS band, ensuring multivendor interoperability. 

The IoT continues to be a major opportunity for the nation’s wireless network operators. For example, in the second quarter, researcher Chetan Sharma Consulting said that connected cars and IoT continued to dominate the overall industry’s net customer addition, accounting for fully 77% of all net additions.

“Again, connected vehicles was the biggest net-adds category for the quarter which was dominated by AT&T,” the firm wrote