Why We're On The Verge Of Disaster With The Internet Of Things

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There are countless possibilities for the Internet of Things to create amazing technological advances and innovations. However, with everything from cars to thermometers connecting and communicating, there is also plenty of room for things to go wrong.

’The Internet of Things is on the verge of, in my view, at least a couple of disasters,’ said MIT’s Sanjay Sarma. ’And unfortunately we will not learn until they occur. And we will keep implementing junk until disaster strikes.’

Sarma knows what he’s talking about: He has worked on radio-frequency identification, or RFID, technology since 1998 and has published multiple pieces warning his audience about the importance of security in embedded technologies.

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He used the example of the oft-touted ’smart factories’ deployed by many companies. Companies are eager to get ahead of the technology curve by outfitting their factories with sensors, but they don’t take the time to actually secure those networks and sensors.

’You need to look at general cybersecurity and physical security: storage, repair,’ he said, citing a lack of updates and maintenance in those factories.

’If a valve breaks down, do you send with your plumber an IT person and a security guard, so they don’t put something in [that network] that makes your factory vulnerable? That’s sort of the world that we’re heading for,’ said Sarma.

Coincidentally, the last major article Sarma published about the vulnerability of IoT came out right before Wired’s expose on car computer hacks.