The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term that describes a new paradigm emerging in our cyber world. It has been described as “uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations in an Internet-like structure”.1 Essentially this means an interconnected network of pretty much anything we can think of (refrigerators, televisions, highway sensors, tracking personal activity, monitoring groundwater runoff, etc.). If you haven’t heard of IoT before, you will hear a lot about it from now on. Our global world is shrinking, and an inherently human trait is finding ways of doing things smarter, faster, and more efficiently.
What does this have to do with Cyber Risk?
There are two sides to the coin. As we strive to do things smarter, there are always unintended consequences. Bringing a smart TV into our homes means having it automatically connect to our home network so we can enjoy movies when we want. But that also means cybersecurity becomes an issue. For example, if someone manages to get inside of our network, finds all of the devices connected to that network, and starts using that computer power as part of their BotNet, then society at large has a big problem. And that is exactly what is happening.
What is the solution?
The Internet of Things, just like the public Internet, is now growing extremely fast. It is estimated that in just six years (2020), there will be more than 30 billion things interconnected via the Internet.2 Being aware of the growing cyber security problem, and learning what it means to each of us, is a critical first step. And as we develop these new things, and decide to connect them to our networks, we must keep the risk in mind. When deciding to use technology in our lives we must always consider, Is the risk worth the benefit?
Is the risk worth the benefit?
In our highly interconnected global village of people and things, our interdependencies with each other is undeniable. Like it or not, the IoT will continue to grow and affect our lives. It is up to each of us to make sure we understand and manage the risks, so that we realize a net benefit in this new world, the world of IoT.