Protect your fridge – device security on the Internet of Things

Device security will protect your privacy in future.

Device security is going to be an essential element for protecting privacy in the future.
(Image taken from the video below).

Future devices will be connected to the Internet

The recent excitement around household and office devices is all about the Internet. Once again the Internet will provide a new growth area. Many more devices are to be connected. They will be your television, fridge, microwave and many other familiar things. But there are consequences for device security.

Why would you want your fridge to be connected to the Internet? Scanners are getting cheaper. Suppose you scanned every item into your fridge; then scanned it out when you used it. If you do the same for your larder you have an inventory. Next, all you need to do is walk into a shop and ask your phone what you need. It will ask your fridge, larder, cupboard etc. It will report back to you. A full shopping list, or a list of what you had last time, or, it’ll report any other information from your provisions database. On the way home from the shop, another connection will start the oven heating. It will be hot, ready to cook as soon as you get home.

Nearly all your house-hold equipment could be put on the Internet. You will be able to adjust or turn them off anywhere in the world. This concept is here now. It’s not science fiction. You can already buy network ready TVs, computer games, microwaves and fridges. Other devices for the home and the office are becoming available. Each of these devices can hold information. But, this is data that can say a lot about your life. So device security will need to become more important. Increased threats to privacy need to be matched by equivalent security.

Device security and the Internet of Things (IOT)

The “Internet of Things” is the latest concept related to devices that have Internet connections. Through IOT you will have a whole range of home and office devices that can talk to each other and communicate across the network. This creates great home comforts and office controls. But it also creates the difficulties of security that we already have with computers in general. Device security is going to be about making sure that you have a way to secure that data. You also need to take care of it. Protection for IOT devices is needed like it is for your computers and office systems.

Can I just connect IOT devices to my network security?

Device security with IOT equipment is going to be more difficult than simple firewalls and alarms. There are a number of issues. The obvious device security issues are…

  • In the home and office sensor data can collect a lot of personal data. It will be able to monitor personal movements, food types, breaks taken, lights on and off… The variation is almost infinite. All this data will be able to provide a very detailed and intimate picture of your life. Much of this data could be stored in local “dumb” devices and not in a central computer. That makes it difficult to protect. The privacy implications are very high risk.
  • Sensors are going to be everywhere. Roadside, doors, fridges, TVs, phones, lights, central heating, car engines… all these and many, many more will start appearing and be connected. The danger is that each of these is a way to connect to your network. Sensors are going to be very easy ways to break into your network. Many sensors will be in easily accessible places.
  • The physical presence of more devices adds more opportunities for hacking. There are already billions of devices connected to the Internet. In the next 20 years that number of connections could easily exceed 7 billion – the total number of people on our planet. That will present a formidable security issue in its own right.

There may be other dangers that will emerge. The IOT things is in its early stages.

Device security and personal data will become close associates

Personal data will be your most valuable asset for managing your home or business. But it will also be the single weak point. You will be able to collect data about your life easily. The devices will be cheap. They will be integrated. They will have all sorts of “smart” abilities. They will also be vulnerable to simple data theft by home repair-men, office workers and almost anyone walking past them. Device security will be about good physical security (alarms and locks) as well as good network security.

These devices, on their own, will not be much of a security risk. On its own a microwave cannot tell that much about your life. But if you add up the data from all your devices, in the home, car, office… well, that is a complete picture of your life. As the future connections develop privacy is going to be more and more about device security.

Security professionals are concerned too

In the video the Cisco expert goes over some of the issues related to device security.
Uploaded by: Cisco Device security :: Securing the Internet of Things | External link - opens new tab/page

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