IBM at CES: Making the IoT secure

By | 1 minute read | January 10, 2017

leadspace image of las vegas skyline where the CES event is held

Observing the incredible array of offerings on display at CES last week, it was obvious to see what is quickly emerging as common thread among IoT devices – security. This is not surprising in light of the recent news reports on hacking (Russia and the DNC as well as the Mirai Botnet and Dyn). To coincide with CES, the Federal Trade Commission announced a $25,000 prize for best tools to protect IoT devices in the home. It’s called the “IoT Home Inspector Challenge“.

With so many new, and cool devices being rolled out, it’s hard to resist the urge to “enchant” your home. But at what risk? As more and more data about you and your home is being gathered and analyzed to make your life easier, it’s important to ask yourself “Is my data secure?” The last thing you want is to wake up to a scenario where everything from your toaster and refrigerator to your thermostat and doorbell have been hacked and turned against you. There is where images of the movie “Despicable Me” with Felonius Gru directing his Minions come to mind.

A panel on “Business Opportunities of Artificial Intelligence” with Bret Greenstein – IBM VP of Consumer Watson IoT, started to dive into this. He explained that across the IoT there is a spectrum of securing and computing the data from edge (Cisco & IBM partner on this) to pervasive computing in the Cloud. It is essential to secure both environments, not just the Cloud.

The shift to capturing and analyzing data on the edge of the network is well underway and is only going to speed up as consumer demand for near real-time services increases. As that volume of personal data grows and resides on devices in your home, the more you may be opening yourself up to be hacked.

This leads us to the second question all consumers of IoT gadgets should ask themselves at CES right after “How cool is this?” which is “How secure is this?”