Official: DHS Looking to Silicon Valley for Help on Internet of Things Security


During a budget hearing, a lawmaker asked Science & Technology under-secretary Reginald Brothers how the Department plans to secure the Internet of Things.

The Homeland Security Department's efforts to connect with Silicon Valley startups could help it protect the Internet of Things, an official said Wednesday.

“Right now, the Internet of Things is taking off," Reginald Brothers, DHS’ undersecretary for Science and Technology, said during a Senate hearing on the agency's budget. "We don’t want to be left behind, in terms of how we think about security. We’re aggressively pushing forward." 

During the hearing, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., asked Brothers how DHS prevents security vulnerabilities from spreading throughout the connected network of electronic devices, sensors and everyday objects known as the Internet of Things -- specifically, which “failsafes and protection” the department was investigating for the network.

In DHS’ trips to Silicon Valley, where the department recently opened a new outpost, “We said, ‘what if we engage the folks who are actually doing the development work on the Internet of Things, and talk to them about security," Brothers testified. "What are their concerns?” 

Conversations with industry working groups surfaced a handful of concerns, including secure ways to detect new connections and authenticating components to determine if they’re legitimate.

DHS is working with the tech sector to understand “the role we should play here,” Brothers said.