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Communications Networking Security The Internet

Securing Networks In the Internet of Things Era 106

An anonymous reader writes "Gartner reckons that the number of connected devices will hit 26 billion by 2020, almost 30 times the number of devices connected to the IoT in 2009. This estimate doesn't even include connected PCs, tablets and smartphones. The IoT will represent the biggest change to our relationship with the Internet since its inception. Many IoT devices themselves suffer from security limitations as a result of their minimal computing capabilities. For instance, the majority don't support sufficiently robust mechanisms for authentication, leaving network admins with only weak alternatives or sometimes no alternatives at all. As a result, it can be difficult for organizations to provide secure network access for certain IoT devices."
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Securing Networks In the Internet of Things Era

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 23, 2014 @06:08AM (#47735429)

    When was gartner right about anything ?

  • by dltaylor ( 7510 ) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @06:20AM (#47735463)

    Most of the management types I've met have just enough functioning brain cells to kiss ass and repeat whatever mantra they learned in MBA school or during the most recent management retreat.

    Target was breached because HVAC maintenance had access to the same network as the POS terminals, which is inexcusable stupidity. Unfortunately, this is exactly what will happen with the IoT devices. Putting them on an entirely separate network (own APs for wireless, blinkenlights, ...) will cost something, and, since the CIOs don't spend hard time in a closed prison for exposing their systems, or the personal data of employees or customers, they simply will not authorize the expenditure.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 23, 2014 @06:50AM (#47735525)

    Exactly. I have yet to see a compelling argument or application for this "Internet of Things." I mean, it's a really catchy buzzword. I know my toaster is bored most of the day, having only 5 minutes' work to do each morning, and I can see where it might enjoy surfing the web during downtime. Maybe I'm just not very creative, that I fail to imagine the wondrous potential embodied in uploading my toast-cooking routine and consumption to the cloud. WTF do people want this?

    Until someone can explain the actual benefit to me, I'm going to see "Internet of Things" as a way to turn every object in my house into an advertisement and a potential hole in my already fragile network security.

  • Re:So ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 23, 2014 @09:28AM (#47735979)

    You need to for the following reason.

    A billion people who are clueless will buy IoT refrigerators, TVs, toasters, lamps, thermostats, washing machines, dishwashers, and so on.

    Companies will cater to this market, and moreover will stop making non-IoT enabled devices.

    "No problem", you think, "I just won't put them on the network". But to get around this and ensure you can be data-mined, the devices will be designed not to operate without connecting to their "home base" advertising company.

    So the answer is: you need to "change your relationship with the internet" because you'll want to keep turning on your lamps, setting your thermostat, washing your clothes, refrigerating your food, etc.

    You might think, "OK, I just won't buy any new devices". That works for a while. But eventually devices break, people need new ones, and we'll be locked into the world of IoT.

    You might think, "don't buy those devices and they'll stop making them". But it won't work, because a billion other people will buy them, and a handful of people who refuse don't matter on this scale.

    That's why.


  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @10:21AM (#47736225)

    Sorry, but "Internet of Things", the term at least, has become a buzzword. As you correctly identified, it's bullshit bingo material considering that pretty much anything connected to the internet almost invariably has to be a thing (apologies to all the cyborgs out there). The "buzzwordism" (I really hope that doesn't become a buzzword now...) lies in the term meaning something along the line of "appliances connected to the internet that were not supposed to be connected when they were originally created". Routers, switches, hubs, bridges... they are by definition supposed to be connected to some sort of network. They have no use outside of one. Computers, gaming consoles and maybe even TVs kinda "belong" on a network, because even though they have a use without, it kinda makes sense to connect them.

    It's different for what the appliance industry termed "white goods". Washing machines, dryers, fridges, stoves... they came into existence long, long before anything remotely resembling a computer or internet, and people don't immediately consider them something they would possibly connect to a network. Those are the "things" the "internet of things" talks about.

    And this is basically also the reason why "internet of things" belongs to the buzzwords. Or, maybe rather, buzzterms. It's a made up term that qualifies a certain group of items that makes no sense whatsoever outside the world of marketing.

The trouble with the rat-race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. -- Lily Tomlin