News | Oct. 16, 2017

Today’s Predictions for Tomorrow’s Internet

By Danielle Millhench DLA CERT

Tomorrow’s internet is already upon us, with the increasing growth of the “Internet of Things” (IoT). The internet is widely available at home and on cellular devices, as well as through enterprise networks aiding in connecting homes, cities, airplanes and electrical grids. The IoT will not only connect computers but also interconnect digital assistants, smart cars, health care devices and smart grid devices like thermostats. Users must remain vigilant as the volume and variety of these devices are growing at an astronomical rate, as well as the vast sea of growing potential vulnerabilities that each of these unique devices brings with it. Current cyber security models apply, though need revisiting every time a new device is released into the digital ecosystem.

Here are a few things to consider prior to adopting IoT devices into your life, home and business:

  • Taking a closer look at these devices, it’s apparent that they utilize highly customized or non-standard operating systems and have limited on-board resources. As a result, typical security measures that are designed to leverage more powerful systems don’t apply, such as security software.
  • The lifecycle of a laptop or cellular phone is generally two to three years, the lifecycle of IoT devices can range from one to 20 years! How often do you buy a thermostat or refrigerator?
  • Many of the IoT devices aren’t easily upgraded. Once deployed they run in default modes without any updates or patches.
  • IoT devices often don’t create security logs themselves, making the enterprise blind to potential threats introduced by these devices.

IoT is certainly having a profound impact on Information Technology at large, especially in the realm of cyber security. An avalanche of new devices, network traffic and protocols are being introduced to enterprise networks with the increase of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies. Securing tomorrow’s IoT today is a bit of a challenge, though by isolating these devices on a network and knowing each devices unique behavior there is a strong possibility to know when something unusual occurs within a network.