Enterprise Security 05-10-2016

Securing the Internet of Things: IoT World

Jason Sabin

When Back to the Future II was first released, we watched in awe when Marty McFly gave voice commands to his TV and lights, and used biometrics to unlock doors rather than physical keys in his smart home, where video conferencing was a regular staple. It’s hard to believe that those concepts, so radical to us then, are very real and functioning now in 2016.

The era we used to dream about and discuss in movies, where information and artificial intelligence were at our favorite characters' fingertips, is upon us. The Internet of Things (IoT) is expanding rapidly, and as we await the new exciting business and lifestyle enhancements that connected technology can bring, we must also confront many new security challenges.

New Threat Landscape

Consider the potential for improving patient outcomes with connected medical devices . . . and then the inherent dangers if attackers motivated by mischief or worse intentions were to hack into medical devices to stop pacemakers, alter infusion pumps, or steal patient records to blackmail high-profile individuals. Think about smart cars helping avoid collisions or avoid heavy traffic jams—until the system is hacked and cars are turned into weapons on the freeway. Plant managers could better manage community water supply, especially during a time of drought, with sensors in place to give real-time readings, but what if a hacker opened the floodgates at the wrong time, sending cascading waters upon unsuspecting communities?

Attackers are only evolving their levels of hacking sophistication, and the Internet of Things has a number of authentication and security vulnerabilities that leave it wide open to attack. However, there are existing technologies, such as IoT World in Santa Clara, California. I’ll be joining a panel at IoT World, alongside other CSOs and CISOs, to discuss these challenges of IoT security and the changing roles for CISOs. I look forward to the discussion and hope others will join me: https://iotworldevent.com/agenda/day-2/. Certainly, we won’t solve all of the IoT security challenges in one session, but we’ll enjoy a lively discussion, which are critical to making the Internet of Everything a success and not a catastrophe.


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