Internet of Things raises security concerns

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The Internet of Things, the catch-all term for connected technology in the home as well as in other fields like medicine, poses new security risks according to a leading consultant.

The expansion of the Internet of Things may hold enormous promise, but it also poses a number of security concerns with ill-thought out regulation, according to R Street Tech Policy Fellow Anne Hobson. In communication with Digital Journal, Hobson encapsulates the risks: “Because of the nature of network effects, internet-of-things devices present a unique problem to the internet as a whole,.”

The technology expert adds: “When devices are connected, one device’s vulnerability becomes a problem for the entire network. This is not a new threat, as networked devices have been around since the 1960s. However, the scale of interconnection among today’s devices magnifies the consequences of insecurity.”

The Internet of Things is estimated to consist of 50 billion objects by the year 2020. This is, and will, include cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices (in fact, almost everything else you can think of).

This expansion of connectivity poses opportunities for hackers and new challenges for those involved with security. Hobson argues that consumers should be aware of the cybersecurity of products they purchase, and that purchasers should be offered forms of cyber insurance. With this she suggests ““policymakers can play a role in supporting market-based solutions like cybersecurity-assurance programs, information-sharing programs and adoption of cyber insurance.”

The challenges of this will be avoiding one-size fits all approaches and offering tailored solutions, both in terms of security and insurance, depending on the types of devices and the importance of the information collected.