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The Internet of Things Is Going to Change Everything About Cybersecurity

Abstract: 
This article gives a rightfully pessimistic overview of the coevolution of cybersecurity and the Internet of Things. This article furthermore outlines the theme of connectivity first and cybersecurity second. Most importantly, the theme of cybersecurity second is a reoccurring theme in things such as connected cars, industrial control systems, and smartphones. This is a very dangerous attitude, however. This article discusses the use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices being used across enterprise, meaning IoT devices are not only limited to consumers. The use of IoT devices in enterprise opens a new danger for society and national security. IoT devices in a power plant may control a generator or a turbine. If a large piece of equipment, such as a generator is compromised, a skilled attacker could cause it to explode, possibly harming employees or nearby civilians. Another important theme discussed in this article is the fact that cybersecurity is slower than innovation. IoT devices are created with little regard for security, and then when they appear on the market it is up to IT and cybersecurity specialists to catch up and secure the devices. The fact that IT specialists must catch up leaves a dangerous window for attackers to carry out an attack. Another dangerous prospect that the article talks about is the fact that IoT devices are inherently connective. Therefore, once one device is affected, it becomes very easy for an attacker to move laterally and compromise a greater portion of the network. This opens many new vectors for an attacker to utilize. Finally, the article proposes a good solution. It advocates for more use and creation of intelligent systems. Intelligent systems are those that are able to monitor their own traffic and are able to learn dangerous new patterns in their use. Subsequently, these devices can alert humans to fix the problem or they can fix the problem on their own. Although this solution in theory is good, it will be very difficult to get to this point. Adding extra functionality will cost manufacturers and designers more money. Not until consumers demand these capabilities will the market shift to force companies to produce these kinds of intelligent devices.
Author: 
Yevgeny Dibrov
Institution: 
Harvard Business Review
Year: 
2017
Input By: 
Cody Durr
Affiliation: 
MIT
Dimensions-Problem/Solution: 
Region(s): 
Industry Focus: 
Electronics
Information & Telecommunication
Internet & Cyberspace
Machinery & Equipment
Datatype(s): 
Policies
Theory/Definition