“Cyber terrorism could also become more attractive as the real and virtual worlds become more closely coupled, with automobiles, appliances, and other devices attached to the Internet.”  -- Dorothy Denning

 

In my recent posts I have laid bare the landscape of cyber security, some of the risks, and some of the solutions and possible solutions to the current, untenable state of our networks. One of the biggest risks to the consumer, to everyone really, I haven’t yet brought up. The so called Internet of Things, or the Internet of Everything, is going to bring a level of risk an order of magnitude greater than anything we have seen to this point.

 

The Internet of Things is a marketing term for sure, but what it represents conceptually is very real: the interconnection of everything from light bulbs, to refrigerators, to door locks. All of these things and many others, all connected together via our home and public networks, all potential risks. When everything is an entry point to the network, and every device we own is connected, imagine the chaos of a large scale hack, virus, or distributed denial of service attack.

 

We’re not there yet, of course. These things are just beginning to become connected. Devices like the Nest thermostat, the Phillips Hue light bulbs, and some of the remote door locks and security systems accessible from our phones are just the opening act, the beginning of a future where literally everything in our lives are connected. How does our standard model of perimeter security look now? Where exactly is the perimeter we’re defending?

 

I don’t have many of the answers, and I doubt a lot of other people do either. That’s not to say that there aren’t a lot of smarter people out there working on the problem, it’s just a very hard nut to crack. The security landscape is moving so quickly, the things we think of today are all but ineffectual tomorrow. All I know is that the more things we connect, and the more we depend on those things, the bigger the imperative is that we figure something out soon.