ON THE ROAD: IoT, Cybersecurity and the Many Unknowns

ON THE ROAD: IoT, Cybersecurity and the Many Unknowns

The Internet of Things (IoT) was all anybody could talk about this week at Boston’s Renaissance Waterfront Hotel.

During the two-day IoT Security Conference, TecHome industry professionals examined the very tricky task of securing the ever-growing technological breakthrough of IoT.

Sridhar Iyengar, founder and director of Misfit Wearables, compared it to a body’s immune system. John Miri, chief administrative officer for the Lower Colorado River Authority, suggested that IoT security could change infrastructure forever.

And then came a very telling story from Paul Dant of Independent Security Evaluators, who gleefully accounted how he was able to hack into a hospital’s network from the Starbucks next door. 

It was all in the name of work, of course, proving that the endless stream of network architecture we construct within the Internet of Things is all but safely protected.

From left: Paul Koster, Greg Walker, Paul Plofchan, and moderator Godfrey Chua for the Smart Home Security panel
FROM LEFT: Paul Koster, Greg Walker, Paul Plofchan and moderator Godfrey Chua for the Smart Home Security panel.

IoT and Security

The conference represented a whirlwind of information and insights, and the conclusion is that IoT security is still a fledgling of a concept, much like IoT itself.

It’s becoming more difficult for security to catch up as IoT surges forward into the future.

However, this was not a conference centered on futility, but rather hope. Speakers tended not to focus on the negatives but instead looked ahead to outline solutions for very real security issues.

A Security Architect’s View

In his solo speaker session, security architect Paul Koster of Philips Hue Lighting described his “classic” and “IoT” views for security. The classic view consists of objectives to “protect assets and interests of users, partners and Hue.” The IoT view is more rigidly defined by three words—trust, security, and usability.

“Identifying and Overcoming Key Security Concerns in the Smart Home”

This panel session was one of utmost importance when it comes to builders who use IoT in their residential products.

The panel—which included the aforementioned Koster, Paul Plofchan of ADT, as well as CABA research director, Greg Walker—was an eye-opening exploration into integrating safety and security into smart building. It also examined opportunities for consumers to monitor and maintain security, combat cybersecurity threats and ruminated on how secure cloud technology in the home really is.

During the panel, Koster offered up suggestions for solving IoT security issues collaboratively.

“This is not something that one corporation can solve. It needs to be cross industry,” says Koster.

The introduction slide for the Smart Home Security panel
The introduction slide for the Smart Home Security panel.

ADT’s VP on Smart Home Security

Plofchan—vice president, government and regulatory affairs chief privacy officer for ADT—also revealed his own take on IoT security in the smart home during the excellent panel.

“The same genius that goes into innovating should go into innovating with these [cybersecurity] issues in mind,” says Plofchan. 

He later joked with an undertone of seriousness: “It’s expensive to mess up on security. The larger you are, the more people line up to litigate you.”

Lessons Learned

All in all, the lesson learned was that we have a long way to go.

But this was just year one of the IoT Security conference, and we’ve got years ahead of us as the Internet of Things becomes more and more developed, hopefully becoming increasingly secure as a result.

By next year, we’re sure to have a completely different discussion and hopefully more concrete solutions on how to secure the smart home.

About The Author

Greg Vellante is a staff writer and multimedia specialist at TecHome Builder, as well as a content coordinator for AE Ventures events. He has over a decade of experience writing for various publications on topics that range from cinema to editorials to home technology. His favorite technologies fall into the A/V and home entertainment realm, and he’s keeping a close eye on the rising trends in robotics and virtual/augmented reality. Greg resides in Boston, holds a degree in Media Studies from Emerson College and pursues screenwriting/filmmaking in his free time.

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