Easy Cyber Knowldege Ch.4 The Internet of Things (IoT)


Easy Cyber Knowledge by Alfred Rolington

Chapter 4. The Internet of Things (IoT)

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Introduction

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and each has the ability to transfer data over an Internet network. This process does not require human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. 

The data is then collected and analysed from lots of different machines and objects and put into the same code and the specific message about different items and objects can then be sent to the relevant people and machines.

Much has changed since 2013 when the Internet of Things emerged as the next shiny tech bauble. The challenge in understanding IoT is not only that the technology is constantly evolving, but that the definition keeps expanding from an original focus on machine-to-machine (M2M) applications that communicate without human intervention.

Many analyses include a whole range of what we used to call embedded computing gear, including high-end networking and digital signage equipment. Other definitions more logically include drones, robots, automotive computers, and wearables. Market estimates and forecasts that IoT will be a $6.2 trillion industry by 2025.

The Internet of Things signals the  beginning of an electronic revolution that like earlier industrial revolutions will substantially alter and change our society. The development is probably best described as the 4th Industrial Revolution. This 4th Revolution employs deep data analysis with interconnections and links to Bio-technology, Artificial Intelligence, robotics and the Internet of Things all of which will significantly alter us as humans and the places we work and live and it has already changed crime and is changing warfare.

The Internet of Things describes the expansion of the Internet far beyond the traditional computing systems and items like mobiles and personal computers into a range on conventional non-electronic devices and items that can be connected and controlled by such systems as smartphones. 

This could apply to ‘smart homes’ where lots of fixtures like home security systems, cameras heating and appliances could be controlled by mobile phones. All of these issues need real attention as the electronic world of social networks, commerce and government is on a continual change and the Internet of Things is one of next significant changes.

The Internet of Things – IoT
The Internet of Things, often verbally reduced to IoT, describes a large group of objects that can connect and share electronic data and information. The name Internet of Things (IoT) was created by Kevin Ashton in 1998 before anything other than computers where connected to the Internet. He wanted society to create an interconnected Internet connecting all areas of society. 

The IoT works by embedding mobile transceivers into a wide range of different items which allows connection and communication between items and items and sometimes people. It has added a new and different aspect and dimension to global data and connections. 

These interconnected objects can include everything from banknotes, cars, aspects of the human body to massive industrial devices and machines. In order to be able to interconnect the objects use the internet protocol or IP, which is used to identify and globally connect computers on the world wide web.

The ides and purpose of IoT is to enable machines and objects to be able to report in real time. This process improves the ways in which information and data can be collected and read without the need for human intervention. The IoT aim is to instant access to information and data about the physical world objects so as to increase global proficiency, efficiency and productivity. 

In the last couple of decades, computers have begun to become more independent of their operators. In the twentieth century computers only did what the operator told them to do but now in the twenty first century with the Internet of Things computers are beginning to act alone. Soon self-driving cars and vehicles will take over many roads and this will save many thousands of lives every year and this process will reduce traffic and exhaust pollution. 

Many things will be inter-connected electronically in the next decade and as the 4th Industrial Revolution takes over most businesses experts are currently predicting that more than 50% of commercial business will be at least partially run by IoT by early 2020s.

The new time of the Internet of Things is entering our society. This process will have both some positives and negatives for the future of security. 

Alongside this change, another emerging technology called Blockchain is becoming important. Cybersecurity platforms running on Blockchain technology will secure devices and appliances using digital technology. Analysts say two leading German companies, Volkswagen and Bosch, are changing the way they work by connecting the Internet of Things (IoT) to the decentralised data market and will use Blockchain as the way forward.

Future Security
Video surveillance is often considered to be an IoT application, and cameras are bundled with many home automation systems. Video, after all, is nothing but a visual sensor, even if it’s one that requires more processing power and higher-bandwidth communications. 

The controversial role of surveillance, which extends beyond video to other forms of home automation monitoring, has led some to decry IoT as the enemy of privacy. 

Home surveillance may make it easier to keep tabs on pets, small children, and the elderly, but it also makes it easier to spy on each other, threatening traditional bonds of trust but also there is Blockchain that decentralises the working platforms and makes a cyber-attack far more difficult to achieve and this adds protection to IoT networks. 

Recently, both  Bosch and Volkswagen have connected to the IOTA Foundation and are going to use a Distributed Ledger Technology which is a crypto-currency designed for the Internet of Things and created by IOTA. Bosch said in November 2018 that it wants to use the non-profit IOTA with camouflaged communications channels as it said that logistics is a massive manufacturing global industry and most industries have gone through significant change and innovation but the logistics is too slow.

“It can be said that any use case is feasible where the Bosch XDK measures sensor data, and there are potential buyers for this data,” Bosch explains. 

“Blockchain technology makes it possible to generate and store all the necessary documents online on a single platform accessible to all. Since all the parties have access to the same information, there will be far fewer disputes and reconciliation problems, so the process will be quicker and more efficient.” 

IOTA says “Enabling the true Internet-of-Things through the Machine Economy "The number of connected devices that will be in use is estimated to reach 75 billion by 2025. From tiny sensors on roads and bridges to wearable electronics, mobile phones, and more, every day the world is becoming more and more interconnected.... People and machines can transfer money and/or data without any transaction fees in a trustless, permission-less, and decentralised environment.” 
IOTA is established as “the main currency for machines,” the organisation claims.

Automotive Uses For Blockchain-like Ledgers
Volkswagen has also been surveying IOTA for blockchain, and other alternative-technology distributed ledgers, include authenticating mileage use. There are of course a number of other distributed ledger technology companies and Hyundai’s blockchain system allows processing of payments over Bitcoin and integrates other blockchain networks.

Where Is IoT Going Next?
Even those who have purchased one of the myriad smart home products, from lightbulbs, switches, to motion sensors, will attest to the fact IoT is in its infancy. Products don't always easily connect to each other and there are significant security issues that need to be addressed.

A report from Samsung has said the need to secure every connected device by 2020 is "critical". The firm's Open Economy document says "there is a very clear danger that technology is running ahead of the game". The firm said more than 7.3 billion devices will need to be made secure by their manufacturers before 2020.

“We are looking at a future in which companies will indulge in digital Darwinism, using IoT, AI and machine learning to rapidly evolve in a way we’ve never seen before," Brian Solis, from Altimeter Group, who helped on the research said. IoT botnets, created using a network of out-of-date devices took websites and some services off-line in 2016. A Chinese firm later recalled 4.3 million unsecured connected cameras. The ease of bringing down the internet using IoT devices was revealed when instead of malicious purposes, the botnet was revealed to have been created to game Minecraft.

What Are The Privacy Implications?
Everything that's connected to the internet can be hacked, IoT products are no exception to this unwritten rule. Insecure IoT systems led to toy manufacturer VTech losing videos and pictures of children using its connected devices.

There's also the issue of surveillance. If every product becomes connected, then there's the potential for unbridled observation of users. If a connected fridge tracks food usage and consumption, takeaways could be targeted at hungry people who have no food. If a smartwatch can detect when you're having sex, what is to stop people with that data using it against the watches' wearer.

“In the future, intelligence services might use the [Internet of Things] for identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking, and targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials,” James Clapper, the US direction or National Intelligence said in 2016. Wikileaks later claimed the CIA has been developing security exploits for a connected Samsung TV.

We Need Reliable Standards
At the centre of creating a vast, reliable IoT network lies one significant issue: compatible standards. Connected objects need to be able to speak to each other to transfer data and share what they are recording. If they all run on different standards, they struggle to communicate and share. 

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Standards Association lists a huge number of standards being developed for different applications. "Additional needs are emerging for standardisation," the Internet Society says. If standardisation happens it will let more devices and applications be connected.

To try and tackle this issue on an enterprise scale, Microsoft has introduced its own system for IoT devices and claims the system will simplify the creation of IoT networks. Gorski described IoT, even among those with the most experience of the concept, as a "relatively immature market" but said 2016 may have been a turning point.

The Hypercat standard is now supported by ARM, Intel, Amey, Bae Systems and Accenture and the firms are agreeing a format for "exposing collections" of URLs, for example.

"In the short term, we know IoT will impact on anything where there is a high cost of not intervening," Evans said. "And it’ll be for simpler day-to-day issues, like finding a car parking space in busy areas, linking up your home entertainment system and using your fridge webcam to check if you need more milk on the way home.

"Ultimately what makes it exciting is that we don’t yet know the exact use cases and just that it has the potential to have a major impact on our lives."

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References:   Wired:     Linux:     Wikipedia:        TechTarget:

You Might Also Read: 

Easy Cyber Knowledge: Ch.1 Internet History (£):

Easy Cyber Knowledge Ch.2  Deep Web And The Dark Web (£):

Easy Cyber Knowlege Ch.3  Social Media & Social Change (£):

 

 

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