Over the past twelve months the IoT has been one of the world's most searched and researched topics. This article will give an insight in to what it might mean for you and your company. We all know, and most of us will probably have, a smart phone that is continuously connected to the Internet. In the background every movement, payment and internet search is being monitored and data being assessed (somewhere) to help improve your life and the way that you work and play. It is said some organisations know from your work's security pass when you take a comfort, coffee or cigarette break based purely on your location in the building, also the duration you take. If they were clever then there would be a cup of tea waiting for me in the reception area next time I visit… milk, no sugar please...!
Driverless cars are just a few years away from being mainstream and with that will come smart traffic measures, ensuring lights turn green and red when traffic is busy to help ease the flow, even car parks will have sensors to let the driverless car know where there’s an empty space. Internet enabled fridges will let you know when the milk is running low or going out of date and reorder accordingly. Home Smart energy meters let you control when your heating is on or off or to adjust the temperature, whether that be remotely or from the comfort of your home. The data from the device is passed back to the energy company and they can then start to predict more accurate consumption levels and therefore reduce energy waste which should then in turn reduce your energy bills (ahem).
Just about anything that is electronic can be automated and internet enabled, but, and although not mainstream yet, can be subject to malicious hacking. Often ‘objects’ known in this context as ‘Things’ have unique identifiers to allow them to pass and transfer data over a network by machine-to-machine communication. This includes and not limited to home and building automation, vehicle communication and wearable computing devices. As this is relatively new, often security of these things isn’t as good as it should be and consumers often fail to reset passwords or set passwords which aren’t sufficiently strong, leaving them open to be hacked and increasing the potential risk of large numbers of unsecured devices connecting to the internet open to an IoT Botnet. It is now said that more than 25 percent of Botnets will be made up of devices other than computers, including smart TVs, baby/dog/security monitors, internet enabled household appliances and heating controllers.
Although there is no silver bullet against protection of every computer threat, users of the IoT can take precautions to ensure they remain safe; securing booting, access control, device authentication and firewalls will all go a long way in securing your personal and corporate infrastructure. As time progresses the testing of IoT systems will improve but for now, it still has it's vulnerabilities.
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