Security, a must for digital evolution – Internet of Things

Security, a must for digital evolution – Internet of Things

Since the first computer was created, the pace of digitalization has only increased. In 1995, less than 1% of the world population had an Internet connection. Today, it is around 40%[1]. The number of Internet users has increased tenfold from 1999 to 2013.

This phenomenon has gradually created room for innovation and simplification of everyday life but every successful step further in the digital world has always been conditioned by security development.

At first, Internet was considered as a great place to share free information without any central authority.

In the 90’s, the National Science Foundation opened Internet for commercial use[2] and security systems as PKI were developed allowing privacy, confidentiality and confidence. Mutual trust between anonymous Internet users was now possible allowing e-commerce development. The digital society evolved from a community of Internet users just exchanging free information to a system where people can perform rapid and secure transactions e.g. book a flight in 5 minutes and 5 clicks.

The digital eco-system is now broadening its scope to physical objects with the emergence of a new disruptive technology called Internet of Things (IoT), which describes the shift from an Internet used for interconnecting end-user devices to an Internet used for interconnecting physical objects that communicate with each other and/or with humans[3]. 

Internet of Things is often perceived as the next big thing. According to the GSMA, the IoT will have 24 billion devices connected by 2020 (vs. 9 billion in 2011) generating a 1,2 trillion dollars revenue[4] and Cisco said that IoT will have ten times more impact on society than Internet[5].

However, as always, security represents a critical element to enable the widespread adoption of new applications and technologies. In fact, without data confidentiality, privacy and trust, IoT will remain just another buzzword.A study released by Hewlett-Packard found that 70 percent of devices connected to the Internet are vulnerable to some form of hacking[6].

So, before blurring the boundaries between the physical and the virtual world, Internet of Things security will have to be well prepared to identify threats and reacting to attacks.