CTIA, the wireless industry association, says it has approved the first device under its Internet of Things (IoT) Cybersecurity Device Program.

The device, the HARMAN Spark from AT&T (does that make it an IoT&T device?) , is a plug-in device that turns any car manufactured after 1996 into a connected car.

“This is a milestone for the CTIA IoT Cybersecurity Certification Program,” said Tom Sawanobori, SVP and CTO of CTIA. “As we move toward an increasingly connected future, the CTIA IoT Cybersecurity Certification Program and its authorized labs will play a key role in protecting consumers and our wireless networks.”

The initial connected-car technology--dedicated short-range communications (DSRC)--has most likely been outstripped by app-based connections.

The CTIA certification verifies the devices security features against a set of best practices on everything from the storage of consumers’ information and password and security management, to "standards and the availability of an over-the-air mechanism for security software."

Making sure connected cars are safe from hackers is an important concern among consumers either driving or sharing the road with connected cars, a point not lost on AT&T.

“It’s appropriate that the first device to gain certification through the CTIA’s Cybersecurity Certification Program is HARMAN Spark,” said Cameron Coursey, VP, IoT Solutions, for AT&T. “This common and readily achievable security program will be critical to the future of safe and secure connected driving.”

Ericsson predict that the number of cellular IoT connections will reach 4.1 billion by 2024.

CTIA launched the certification program last August with the backing of AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and others.

CTIA started accepting devices for testing back in October.

CTIA says the program will provide a more secure network for smart cities, connected cars, telehealth and other applications connected by wireless nets.

The program could also help head off government regulations, particularly since it is based in recommendations from the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications & Information Administration and the National Institute of Standards & Technology.

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