The name Internet of Things came about in 1999 when researcher Kevin Ashton from MIT gave a presentation at P&G on RFID technology and its application in the value chain connected to the Internet.
In 2004, the concept was consolidated with the publication of an article on the IoT concept in the famous Scientific American magazine.
What Is IoT?
The Internet of Things is a new paradigm shift in the IT arena, coined from two main words: “Internet” and “Things”.
From that mindset, the Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use a standard set of protocols ( TCP/IP ) to serve billions of users worldwide.
It is a network of networks consisting of millions of private, public, academic, commercial, and government networks, from local to global in scope, linked by various electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies.
By “things”, we mean any object or person that the real world can distinguish. Everyday objects include not only electronic devices that we encounter and use, such as everyday technological products, equipment and gadgets, but also items that we would not normally consider electronic (food, clothing, furniture, materials, monuments and works of art and all the collection of commerce, culture and sophistication).
This means that things can be living here, such as people, animals, plants, and non-living, such as a chair, refrigerator, light, curtain, plate, any household appliance or industrial device. So, things are natural objects in this physical or material world. Therefore, everything connected to the Internet is not a computer or a mobile device but a “thing” in this IoT concept.
How Is Security?
With each passing day, we observe that IoT is increasingly present in the lives of people and companies. Many sensors today are used to help with industrial automation.
In cities, with the adoption of Smart Cities projects, many diverse devices are being incorporated into people’s routines, such as lighting sensors, smart light bulbs, security cameras, autonomous cars, and parking sensors, among many others.
For this all to work, there are several components of a necessary infrastructure that we consumers need to see. Some are wired and wireless computer networks, computing services and others.
Therefore, one of the main challenges is the security of this entire infrastructure and autonomous, connected network, as sensors and devices connect and communicate with virtually no human intervention.
With this, it becomes a primary target for hackers and criminals who seek to steal data or even cause a partial or total stoppage of the service without anyone noticing.
In the most straightforward cases, user data can be stolen and, in the most critical cases, threaten life. For example, we can cite the invasion of an industry’s network and the manipulation of a boiler or nuclear reactor’s sensors.
Another example is attacking and hacking a car’s Wi-Fi network, invading its entire system while moving and acting on the accelerator or brake sensors.
Before things came to life with the IoT, cyberattacks were restricted to computers and servers connected to the network. Today, a smartphone, a car, a lamp, a sensor or a refrigerator connected to the Internet is enough to become the target of cyber attacks.
The whole concept of Digital Transformation has been bringing significant gains in productivity and new business opportunities for companies and people. However, on the other hand, the number of connected devices increases and, with it, the challenge of keeping these environments safe from cyber attacks.
There is no silver bullet, a magic product that guarantees 100% security. This is a highly complex challenge, as it involves, in many cases, several different devices, several manufacturers and the absence of minimal standardization.
One way to minimize future security problems is to adopt a Security by Design methodology right from the project conception, that is, to be concerned with security from the choice of devices, what will be connected and how.
When protection and security are not native, it is necessary to apply a layer or technology to manage the security of that environment, thus minimizing possible threats.
Security in an IoT environment is not restricted to the network, devices or sensors but to all elements involved for the project or service to function correctly.
Therefore, one way to minimize risks is to comprehensively assess all components that are part of the solution, such as devices, cloud services, applications, interfaces, software, identification and authentication, among others.