IoT and the Move away from Password Protection

People ooh and ahh over things like a “smart” garage door opener. How cool would it be to open it from your office to let someone in? Like a celebrity or a Bond Villain, only you don’t need that type of money to have it. IoT has made connected devices like these available for mass consumption, but here’s the rub: Your garage can now be hacked.

But there’s a solution, and it’s not incredibly tricky, but it involves a new way of thinking (to most people) around digital devices. As more and more devices get connected in your house, and this seems somewhat inevitable, the more you need to create a digital identity for every device operating in that ecosystem (your house).

The first step in getting smart and safe is to distinguish all the sensors, and all the devices in your house, from each other giving each one a digital identity.You do this by converting select bits of information about each one into a digital record (model numbers and things like this). So, you create a system that can works together to deny unfamiliar signals and devices.

And this can be brought to bigger systems like say earthquake sensors that shut off things like natural gas. These systems are prone to attack. Smart cities start to seem a bit stupid. But the same protection can apply with a little more sophistication. Every piece of the system will have an identity and a credential or token that allows recognition. This is very different from a password-protection system, which are awful in terms of security.

Once you have all the devices in your ecosystem identified then the last step is setting up the parameters for how they can play with one another. This goes behind the simply you can or can’t do something to I know who you are but you can’t do this specific task.

People have a lot of fears around what a connected world means to our security, and rightfully so. If we continue with our current security protocols (password protection) then we’re heading for trouble. But if we can assign identities and credential to devices and apps then that changes everything. You can go back to worry-free dreams of being like a Bond villain.

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