In 1982, a coca-cola machine became the first Internet-connected appliance in the world and the starts of IoT revolution. According to Wikipedia, the concept of the Internet of Things was invented by and term coined by Peter T. Lewis in September 1985 in a speech he delivered at a U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) supported session at the Congressional Black Caucus 15th Legislative Weekend Conference.
Fast forward 32 years later and here we are in 2017 with 30 billions of IoT used worldwide. Governments and businesses are looking into IoT as a new source for revenues and economic growth. Technology providers are coming out with solutions to power up the IoT infrastructures. Consumers are buying into the lifestyle of IoT and soon IoT will be a necessity rather than luxury purchases. Mobile phones are now yesterday news while wearable or solar heaters or air-cool devices are the new trends. How many would like to have their room heated-up when they get home during winter or entering a home with cool temperature during blistering heat? Maybe get a robo-vacuum to clean up the house while you and your guests are on the way home?
After all the madness that IoT is generating and billions of dollars on investment in R & D by the stakeholders, it is unbecoming of industrial movers for not coming out with any standardize protocols for safety and security for each of the IoT devices. There is no central standards nor is there an oversight body that can say this or that devices may or may not be safe to consumers. Everyone wants to make a quick bucks while the heat is on and consumers are so engross in the new lifestyle that they have forgotten that an IoT is a piece of device that has a microprocessor that can be taken over by unauthorized persons if access to it is not properly manage. In our previous article on IoT, we did pose many questions to consumers on their readiness to embrace this new digital lifestyle.
New questions arises in various sectors of businesses and policy makers such as how will insurance companies handle claims of IoT failure or liabilities due to improper design? Who will be liable if there is a breach of security? Can IoT be used as a terrorist device? Imagine someone controlling a giant truck remotely towards a high-speed train or detonate a pack of batteries somewhere on the plane or shutdown a surgical tools while its being used to assist doctors during an operation. What kind of personal information is being sent over the clouds that may or may not invade consumers’ privacy?
Until a proper unifications on IoT standards are established, consumers must take all the necessary precaution to prevent them from losing control of their IoT. If you want to use IoT then you must accept that security and risk management are synonymous with internet of things.
Everyone knows what a firewall or antivirus software is but does everyone knows that neither of them are in IoT? You may have a firewall installed in your PC or a Mac or a Linux or a Android or a iOS but none of them is capable of protecting your IoT. These are devices that are connected to your network and monitored by your modems and routers. How many home routers that we know have an antivirus? The answer to that question is None Whatsoever.
Until all the concerns are addressed by the relevant authorities, you must take control on your IoT infrastructure and minimize the risks if the worst happened. Do it now before it is too late. Take control and enjoy your IoT.
In our next article, we will explore various security risk management approach that can be applied to IoT lifestyle. If you are a user of IoT, please email to us your experience in using and managing your devices.