5 Things to Secure in the Internet of Things
Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and cellular data are just a few of the most familiar ways devices connect with one another. Simple math informs us that the more these devices connect, the more voluminous the data that can be shared among them. We call the rapid proliferation of such devices, all able to connect between and amongst each other, the Internet of Things. New technologies are emerging daily in this expansive cloud of devices, leaving uncharted territory in terms of security. Futurex has selected five new or emerging technologies that raise questions about data security and protecting each device in this Internet of Things.
- Self-driving cars: Your car is cruising along while you watch Netflix and drink a latte when you realize it’s taken longer than usual to get to your destination, so you look through the route log and find you’ve been going in circles. You attempt to reroute the car, but you no longer have access. Someone has seized control of your system and changed your credentials. That’s a scary thought, right? Potentially deadly, high-velocity vehicles must be secure. Authenticating drivers and vehicle-to-vehicle communication as well as vehicle-to-server communication will serve to protect against unauthorized access, firmware uploads, and more.
- Wearable technology: We’ve already got watches and eye glasses with sophisticated capabilities such as sending and receiving phone calls, connecting to the internet, or downloading applications. And that’s not all. One article celebrates 10 years of wearable technology, mentioning smart clothes, watches, cameras, glasses, headsets, and more. The potential for imagination in innovation here might only be matched by the potential for personal and informational safety risks. As this field develops, so too must the cryptographic technology that secures its devices.
- Mobile payment terminals: It wasn’t long ago that sellers started accepting card-based payments on their mobile phones. Now, using Near Field Communication technology, people can simply hover their phones over payment terminals to pay in stores. Combine this sort of technology with the wearables discussed earlier, and it’s not difficult to imagine a possible future for this industry. The more devices that allow a user to pay, the more vigilant we must be in securing these devices and the data housed in and transmitted between them.
- Smart grid technology: Communication technologies that capture endpoint user data in the smart grid, such as smart meters, pose a great challenge for data security professionals. They’re tempting targets, these two-way communication technologies modernizing the grid and carrying sensitive data to and from homes and utilities companies. Think for example of energy-intensive appliances like lights, dishwashers, and laundry machines feeding usage data to energy companies in real-time, and the energy company responding according to the habits of the consumer. There’s opportunity to intercept this data in transit or at rest at the endpoint application. Already breaches of consumer energy usage data result in significant costs annually, and this will only intensify as these technologies progress.
- Drones and UAVs: UAVs have significant usage in the military, and, consequently, many of these UAVs carry some of the world’s most sensitive, highly classified data about military and defense operations. Such technology has been introduced to the commercial sector as well, handling tasks as diverse as delivering packages or aiding agriculture. This makes drones another important technology to properly secure.
These are just a few of the emerging technologies that raise security questions. As these technologies continue to contribute to the Internet of Things, security professionals must likewise contribute to their continued safe usage.