Vice President, Rational Smarter Product Development
IBM Software Group
With all the recent news and Consumer Electronics Show announcements of countless smart, connected devices, appliances, and vehicles, you would think the Internet of Things is ready for prime time. But, when you look under the covers, you will see that we are really only at the beginning of this journey, and there are numerous challenges and pitfalls for companies who are blazing the way.
One particular challenge is security, and it is already biting early adopters. As soon as we could move data between devices, virus's and security exposures spread. It began as we connected to bulletin boards via modems and exchanged files using floppy discs. And, it has led today to a cyberattack that caused ordinary connected appliances to send out huge volumes of malicious email.
Connectivity magnifies security risks. So, as every day devices gain intelligence and connectivity, the security challenges for manufacturers and consumers only grows. The security firm, Proofpoint, identified a new form of cyberattack that causes smart devices (TV's and appliances) to send out malicious emails. Apparently over 750,000 emails were sent from 100,000 devices. While this may have only slowed down your devices and clogged network traffic, the implications are clear. Unprotected or poorly designed devices will expose your life to hackers and criminals. This is scarier when you consider the cameras and monitoring devices that will be used in the coming years in our living rooms and bedrooms.
Designing and testing for security for the Internet of Things will need to mature significantly, and quickly, to protect us.