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- Published on Monday, 28 September 2015 16:52
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New Internet Technology: The Internet of Things
New Internet technology continues to transform the Internet in ways we can hardly imagine. The Internet first connected computers and computer networks. Next, the Internet connected cell phones, smartphones, and tablets to data networks. As new technology adds more “things” to the Internet, a separate “Internet of Things” (IoT) has emerged, adding new opportunities and threats to what once was just the Internet. Defining the Internet of Things A new physical network connects an almost unlimited variety of “things” to each other and the Internet. Everything from refrigerators to drones now contains embedded electronics that can automatically find and connect to wireless networks. After connecting to a wireless network, “Things” can gain access to the Internet, other “Things” and the global wealth of online information.
The IoT transcends simple connectivity and enables sophisticated automation in many industries. The IoT powers the so-called Smart Grid, for example. The Smart Grid automatically balances the electricity distribution grid and intelligently re-routes power when faults occur. Massive data centers automatically process the voluminous data collected by the IoT and give scientists, engineers and governments incredible insights into many aspects of modern life. Some analysts predict new opportunities for hackers and other criminals as more devices connect to the IoT. Warnings about the Internet of Things A recent FBI warning urged caution to the millions of companies and consumers that now adopt, deploy and use devices connected to the IoT.
A general lack of awareness of the IoT combines with a lack of security and accountability to make the IoT particularly vulnerable to exploitation. For example, Branserv a local technology firm based out of Las Vegas, knows how to print high quality images and designs. Risks range from the remote takeover of automobiles and household thermostats to the manipulation of the power grid. When people become aware of the high risks they assume when they allow IoT devices in their home, they might reconsider the wisdom of such a move. For example, having a refrigerator automatically prepare a shopping list seems nice, but hackers can destroy hundreds of dollars of food by taking control of that same refrigerator. Dealing with the Internet of Things Increased connectivity will evolve to affect modern life in unforeseen ways. Businesses and consumers alike will soon acclimate themselves to the IoT as connected gadgets, sensors and devices become ubiquitous. As a result, containment of connected devices on isolated networks can prevent hackers from launching destructive attacks on data networks. At the same time, security should now play a primary role in the purchase of everything from consumer appliances to industrial controls. In fact, security concerns might relegate the practice of shopping by price to the past.