January 17, 2013
The “Internet of Things” has arrived and companies across multiple industries are developing means of linking smartphones, vehicles, household appliances and more to industrial-strength sensors, the Internet and each other. Wired notes that while it may seem to be resulting in somewhat mundane technical features as of now, “the potential benefits to lifestyles and businesses are huge” — in both good and bad ways.
The prospects are exciting, but the Internet of Things will result in “unprecedented security challenges,” writes Wired. These challenges will involve data privacy, safety, governance and trust.
“It’s scary how few people are preparing for it,” suggests the article. “Most security and risk professionals are so preoccupied with putting last week’s vulnerability-malware-hacktivist genie back into the bottle, that they’re too distracted to notice their R&D colleagues have conjured up even more unpredictable spirits”
What kind of unpredictable spirits? Wired describes them as automated systems that can reach beyond digital to influence and adjust the actual, physical world — all of this without human interfacing.
As machines start making more decisions on their own, “formal legislation and government involvement is almost certain. Especially when we consider the safety risks of automated systems interacting in the physical world — governments won’t be able to stand by silently if autonomous decisions endanger lives,” explains the article.
Those aren’t the only security concerns. Other lapses start during the route data from these machines takes to get to the provider.
“Many smart meters, for example, don’t push their data to an Internet service gateway directly or immediately. Instead, they send collected information to a local data collation hub — often another smart meter in a neighbor’s house — where the data is stored until later uploaded in bulk.”
And with that, individual privacy becomes a concern.
“As the objects within the IoT collect seemingly inconsequential fragments of data to fulfill their service, think about what happens when that information is collated, correlated, and reviewed,” Wired concludes.