The Internet of Things is as secure as an open barn door. But new operating systems like Canonical’s Ubuntu Core 16 can close the door before the DDoS attacks get out.
Ubuntu Core 16 can work on clouds and virtual machines, but what makes it really important is it gives us an easy-to-use, secure operating system for the Internet of Things.
Ubuntu Core 16 for the Internet of Things does this with regular and reliable security updates and app stores for intelligent connected devices. Ubuntu Core is a tiny, transactional version of Ubuntu for IoT devices and large container deployments. It runs a new breed of highly secure, remotely upgradeable Linux app packages known as snaps. Snaps are securely confined, read-only, tamper-proof application images, digitally signed to the integrity of IoT software.
The operating system and kernel in Ubuntu Core are also delivered as snaps, so the entire platform is transactionally upgradeable. All Ubuntu Core devices, from all manufacturers, will have free, regular, and reliable OS security updates.
This last part is vital to making truly secure IoT devices. Today, IoT vendors often make it impossible to update their gadgets. Even if they do let you do it, the patches vary from one version to another. For example, far too many Android smartphones are not updated consistently. And things are far worse with the thousands of cheaply made devices with their own homebrews of operating systems and application.
Ubuntu Core is already in use in top-of-rack switches, industrial gateways, home gateways, radio access networks, digital signage, robots, and drones. “Ubuntu Core secures the Internet of Things and provides an app store for every device,” said Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu and Canonical.
Manufacturers have already embraced Ubuntu Core. “Dell has been working with Canonical on Ubuntu Core for over a year, and our Dell Edge Gateways are fully certified for Ubuntu Core 16,” said Jason Shepherd, Dell’s IoT’s Director of Strategy and Partnerships, in a statement. Why? Because “as companies continue to embrace Internet of Things solutions, security and quick, easy system updates are critical”.
“The Internet of Things will see billions of devices in all aspects of our lives”, said George Grey, Linaro, the ARM Linux distribution, CEO. “Ubuntu Core 16 will help developers get their products to market quickly using snaps, bringing a new generation of Linux based IoT smart devices to the market.”
Other major companies, such as Intel and IBM, are also supporting Ubuntu Core 16. Now,we need to get the smaller OEMs on board. As Gartner reported, more than half of new business processes will incorporate some elements of IoT by 2020. We can’t afford to have most of the internet being made up of insecure black boxes.
Leaving aside the security concerns, Ubuntu Core 16’s device-specific snap app store supports developers throughout the device lifecycle from beta testing to general availability. This will allow independent software vendors (ISVs) to sell IoT software as easily as cloud, enterprise, and mobile software. A white label app store will help device manufacturers build a branded, differentiated device and software experience.
Put it all together and Ubuntu Core 16’s over-the-air updates, signed snaps, and security model will help developers and device manufacturers reduce their time to market. Device manufacturers can already choose from a wide range of chipset, SoC, and single board computers. These include the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3, the Qualcomm Dragonboard 410c, and the Intel Joule.
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