The Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA) announced that they will be releasing a new certification program for cellular-connected objects that make up the Internet of Things. The nonprofit organization CTIA represents wireless carriers, manufacturers of wireless products, and service providers and advocates for new technology standards in the telecommunications industry.

The proposed CTIA cybersecurity certification incorporates IoT security recommendations from the National Institute of Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). In doing so, they devise a comprehensive program for the numerous devices connected to the internet through 5G, LTE, and other wireless networks.

Cellular Tower

By some estimates, there are already more connected objects than people on the planet, and the task of securing all of these devices will require coordination across industries and platforms. The CTIA may be one of the most important organizations for ensuring that coordination within the United States.

The CTIA has long had a role in creating certification programs as the wireless industry has developed and the technology has progressed. Tom Sawanabori, CTO of CTIA stated, “America’s wireless industry has long been a leader in cybersecurity best practices and establishing an industry-led cybersecurity certification program for IoT devices is a major step in building a trusted, secure wireless ecosystem for the Internet of Things.”

The new cybersecurity program will be developed in collaboration with leading United States-based wireless carriers like AT&T and Verizon. The goal is that IoT devices built with these certifications from the “ground up” will better protect consumers and provide a solid foundation for a smart future of connected devices, places, and services.

The importance of security within the IoT is not lost upon the wireless companies. The Senior VP of Internet of Things at Sprint, Ivo Rook, stated, “IoT is increasingly important to all companies. We need to act proactively in securing the data of our customers, and this is not just a technology challenge, it is a collaboration challenge. All operators and technology providers need to work together to ensure that robust security can foster continued growth and innovation.”

The IoT Cybersecurity Certification Program will start testing new objects for certification in Q4 2018. Currently, some industry watchdogs say the IoT is vulnerable to exploitation, and CTIA hopes its program will improve cybersecurity and stymie the multitude of attacks launched against connected objects each year.