Up to $300,000 For Grabs from Cisco’s IoT Security Grand Challenge


IoT (Internet of Things) is viewed as one of the trends which changes how devices will be used in every lives. Cisco is launching an IoT Security Grand Challenge with an invitation to the global security community to create intelligent cybersecurity solutions. The challenge aims to address threats which will rise as IoT proceeds to greater adoption. It is expected that smart, internet-enabled devices will grow to 50 billion by 2020 and therefore it is necessary to create a robust security model in anticipation of this growth.

Chris Young outlines the benefits of IoT and how these could come to nothing with an insecure data model:

…as our connected lives grow and become richer, the need for a new security model becomes even more critical. It requires that we work together as a community to find innovative solutions to make sure that the IoT securely fulfills its potential and preserves the convenience that it represents.


For example, in the healthcare sector, it’s easy to imagine how Internet-connected devices and systems are revolutionizing patient care. In the transportation sector, technologists are already connecting vehicles and their subsystems to the Internet. It is also, unfortunately, too easy to imagine how these world-changing developments could go terribly wrong when attacked or corrupted by bad actors

Contestants will get between $50,000 and $70,000 if their solutions come out top in the challenge. Submissions can be made here with Evaluation criteria for the challenge are as below:

Feasibility, scalability, performance, and ease-of-use
Applicability to address multiple IoT verticals (manufacturing, mass transportation, healthcare, oil and gas, smart grid, etc.)
Technical maturity/viability of proposed approach
Proposers’ expertise and ability to feasibly create a successful outcome

The call for proposals will be open from February 27, 2014 to June 17, 2014 with the evaluation set to take up to September 2014.

Meanwhile recent news highlights an unlikely threat to IoT, when a plane was grounded twice by a swarm of wasps. The swarm first intefered with the jet’s visibility with some wasps making their way to the pitot tubes where a nest obstructed the airspeed information sensors. Wasps may be the least of IoT’s worries but a good security model for data relayed by these sensors will inspire confidence in this new trend.