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“Security issues will not slow down deployment of IoT in the near future”

Dan York

The rapid development of the Internet of Things (IoT) changes the world and life style we are used to, blurring the boundaries between online and offline activities. New conveniences come in with new hard security-related questions affecting more and more internet-connected devices, and data they generate, and networks to transport that data, etc. In October 2015, the Internet Society (ISOC) released a report “The Internet of Things (IoT): An Overview” which covers some of the threats and challenges caused by the global development and deployment of IoT technologies. CyberPulse spoke to Dan York, Senior Content Strategist at ISOC, on the threats which IoT brings and the questions it raises with a society as a whole and a common user or a state, or a private company, or the technical community in particular.


How does the topic of Internet of Things (IoT) fit into your expertise?

I started with the Internet Society four years ago and my focus was on deployment of key technologies to make the internet more secure and accessible: DNSSEC, routing security protocols, IPv6 etc. So, my background is security and communicating about security. But I’ve always been interested in IoT. With the growth of the internet-connected things — gadgets, smartphones, wearables like Apple Watch and more things getting online — network security becomes a great concern. Overtime we slowly got better at securing our laptops, smartphones and other devices. But now we’re getting our refrigerators, baby-monitors, and all sorts of things on the internet. Look at this explosion of devices! I have a 6-year-old daughter, and I remember, when we got a baby-monitor that was basically a radio-thing. Now they are internet-connected and IP-enabled, because people want to be able to go to work and watch their baby. First of all, the device is connected to the internet. And it is sending you data, a video-stream, to a server to which you have access through your phone. That data has to go through a number of points. This raises the question of transport security: is the data encrypted between your home and the server, and from the server to your smartphone? Then there's also the question of the device security. Can the attacker go into you network, get into that device and use it to look inside your house? There was a report a little while ago about the refrigerators that were being used as botnets: an attacker figured out how get into a smart refrigerator’s interface, install there some malware that could then be used as bot to do DDoS attacks. 


Full text of interview


CyberPulse E-journal. Issue No. 5 (17). September-October, 2015