Platforms like MinnowBoard are a great starting point for IoT edge hardware... as long as you lock down a few things in the firmware.
Following firmware developers on social media during Black Hat & Def Con can be a bit bewildering. Firmware is becoming more important in the realm of cybersecurity research.
Attacks operating at the firmware level can be difficult to discover. There are methods for detecting and defending against attacks, which Intel shares through open source and training.