The Internet of Things will change our planet, our species and our way of life. This has lead to there being an enormous amount of hype surrounding the technologies and opportunities popping up in this sector. Everything from highly efficient remote control homes to driverless cars, which could change the way transportation is conceived forever, are getting people giddy beyond belief. I think that's fair enough, the changes mark a real step forward in technological development, using the internet and social media, which we are now so accustomed to, to engage with reality is truly exciting.
However, this excitement should instil some feelings of trepidation as we are stepping into an unknown area here. There is a lot of talk about the security issues surrounding the IoT phenomenon. With solutions needing to come both from company level and governmental level. In an increasingly cyber-sensitive world, where the biggest threat to you is through your presence online, these security measures are certainly worth considering. The worst case scenarios for governments will look like when a cyber threat could potentially bring traffic to a grinding halt in a certain area or bring swathes of a country into darkness by blowing a load of connected light bulbs. People will inevitably look to them for an explanation and protection.
The most viable solutions will grow out of a joint effort between corporate and governmental groups. Maintaining a level of patience and implementing systems that work for both the businesses and the consumers are essential at this stage. Measured, systematic growth of this technology will ensure it will reach its pinnacle potential, which has the power to irrevocably alter the fabric of human civilisation.
In order to overcome the biggest IoT security challenges and engineer security into connected and embedded devices from the ground up, it’s useful for developers and manufacturers to consider the following principals: Open source – put an end to proprietary security by obscurity and instead choose a 100% “Darwinist” focus on quality, usability and robustness. Code is becoming increasingly complex, so let’s get as many eyes on it as possible. Open standards could overcome the dearth of connectivity expertise in the industry. Interoperable – vendor-led initiatives can be incredibly time-consuming and costly, yet the results are usually non-portable across homogeneous platforms.But if vendors can come together on a common platform, architecture, APIs and standards, they can benefit from a universal and more secure open source approach leaving them to compete on value-add services, rather than basics such as security.