I recently had the chance to talk with the legendary Vint Cerf, one of the founding fathers of the internet. We had a wide-ranging discussion about the past, present and future of the internet, network security and what it would take to successfully, safely and reliably merge the digital and physical worlds, a concept known as the “Internet of Things,” or IoT.
As its name suggests, the internet of things will connect all kinds of things, bringing us a wealth of data about, well, everything that we can use to improve our lives. For example, internet-connected smart parking meters are helping people find available parking spaces, saving time, fuel and probably more than a few relationships. People are using fitness trackers to log their daily activity and achieve their fitness goals, making them healthier and happier. And technologies that promise to make travel safer and more convenient, such as self-driving cars and highway sensors that detect and adapt to real-time road conditions, are quickly moving from concept to reality.
But with all the exciting new functionality and features that IoT will grant, it will also bring a host of new cybersecurity risks and challenges. Some of these risks could be seen as relatively innocuous. For instance, hackers could virtually raid your internet-connected refrigerator and instruct it to order too much milk as a prank. Other risks are far more serious, such as hackers being able to take control of your self-driving vehicle or medical device.