IoT and the exploding need for security
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We are rapidly heading for a world where everyone and everything is connected in a global mesh network. Today’s over-hyped early stage market will have to mature for the real solutions to come.
Most solutions of today are vertical; device – cloud – app. Very little horizontal and system integration, especially when you want to mix and match solutions from different vendors. Many big players in the IoT create their own ecosystem by designing solutions for their own smart things to be able to interact.
Say you buy a fridge from a supplier that connect to the Internet and can be controlled with an app. Down in the basement you have a heat pump from another supplier who is also online and can be controlled via another app. Eventually, the user would end up with an app for every smart gadget, and too many apps would mean that none would be used. Take the hilarious situations with the remotes on your living room table, one for the TV, one for the sound system, one for the cable modem, and so on, and multiply that with all potentially gadgets at home, in your garden, your car, at your office…
By agreeing on how interoperability can be solved, existing suppliers and inventive entrepreneurs can develop new solutions and apps that automate and control the myriad of sensors and gadgets, providing radically new solutions and abilities cross-vendor technologies.
But this openness also opens for malicious attacks, hacking, and other criminal and destructive behavior. With all data easily exposed it would be a simple thing to know when the house is empty for burglars to enter, to stalk people, to steal their identity, and so on.
The amount of damage that can be done is way greater than today. Take a recent hack like the Sony Entertainment hack; it was, of course, devastating for the company, but it was still just information on their network, mostly historical data. Hacking the IoT world means access to real-time control of physical devices. How about turning off the breaks on a moving car, turning off the cooling system on a power plant or pulling the plug on an Air Control Tower? Or change the dose on an insulin pump? The amount of damage that can be done remotely will also open a new “market” for extortion and cyber warfare.
IoT will require a new level of security and privacy protection, simple enough for anyone to use, but hardened enough to make it impossible to break. Especially since most of these things will move around and communicate on public networks outside firewalls.