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Internet of Trust: Security Issues Stalling IoT

Andrew Hamilton

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iot security

Interest in the Internet of Things continues to expand, except in home security systems.

People are shying away from home-based IoT devices because of concerns surrounding protection, according to services firm Deloitte.

In their 2017 Global Mobile Consumer Survey, Deloitte notes a ‘lag’ in desire between IoT entertainment systems (game consoles, wireless TVs, etc.) and connected vehicles (route tracking, predictive maintenance, etc.) versus interest in home securities.

The survey found that more than 40% of respondents agreed that smartphone technology reveals too much about their personal lives, and nearly 40% worry that their smartphone usage can be tracked.

Additionally, less than one-in-five customers believe that they are well informed about the security risks associated with connected home devices, and 40% reporting that they are not well informed at all.

That being said, Deloitte also found that 91% of consumers willingly accept legal terms and conditions without reading them before installing apps, latching onto Wi-Fi hotspots, accepting updates, and signing up to online services such as video streaming. For ages 1834, that rate of ‘blind’ T&C acceptance reaches 97%.

Deloitte explains these anomalies in the report by noting that complicated language (which could change with the arrival of GDPR), and a lack of choice means that customers don’t consider complex Terms and Conditions a ‘barrier’.

These actions are particularly notable given that more than 80% of customers also believe that companies use their personal data, and a further 78% think that their data is shared with third parties.

The information which customers feel that they are giving away also varies between platform. Online, 58% of consumers are willing to give away identifiable information, such as a name or email address, but are far less likely to share information about health (7%). Only 13% claimed to never share any identifiable information, such as name, phone number, photos, contact list, browsing activity, purchase history or health metrics.

Blockchain as a solution?

With distrust apparently so inherent in internet of things security systems, can we expect any kind of large adoption of IoT? Ben Smeets, a Senior Expert in Trusted Computing at Ericsson Research, has claimed that blockchain could be the answer. Speaking at Arm TechCon 2017, Smeets pitched the concept of ‘ID brokering’ – a system of distributing layers of authentication across IoT devices, just like ledgers in a blockchain.

Ericcson Research demonstrated a proof-of-concept at the 2017 Mobile World Congress. The tests showed that a distributed leger which is shared between devices is not easily hacked, as a device cannot access the IoT network unless it has been verified through the entire leger.

Currently, blockchain is still not a mainstream method of authenticating software. However, as interest in IoT devices continues to peak, and biometrics still clearly require some work, blockchain could quickly find its way into common usage.

Andrew Hamilton

Andrew Hamilton

PR & Content Executive at Hutchinson Networks

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