Security

Refrigergeddon has to happen: Intel

Human nature being what it is, the Internet of Things will need to experience a number of security incidents before people realise that like every other computing platform in history, security is important for it too.

As more and more devices get connected to the internet, and capability of such devices is lowered to make them cheaper and thereby attempt to make them more ubiquitous, the security of those devices can slide. If this trend continues, something awful will happen that will eventually wake the world out of its security slumber.

Over on ZDNet, there is a name for this situation: Refrigergeddon.

To quote the man who dubbed it, Stilgherrian: "Refrigergeddon ... this idea that the proliferation of connected smart devices that we call the Internet of Things (IoT) represents a looming security nightmare. The evidence in favour seems to be mounting. But it also seems that, once again, we're oblivious to the lessons of the past."

These thoughts were backed up by Intel's general manager of Intel's intelligent solutions division, Kumar Balasubramanian, who told TechRepublic that security in the Internet of Things (IoT) is continuing to evolve, and a major incident or two was possibly needed for users to fully grasp the importance of security in a somewhat new computing realm.

"People are still at the point where [they are asking] 'Is security optional? Or is security mandatory?'," Balasubramanian said. "Those are the actual evolution points that are going to happen."

"You just need one attack, like Target, and suddenly everyone is very sensitive and they don't want to see that kind of problem happen."

Balasubramanian said that although Intel currently has app whitelisting on its IoT chips, and is looking at getting intrusion detection into silicon, the idea of an entire security solution on silicon was one whose time had yet to come.

"It is not like the technology is waiting for an innovation, the technology exists, it's a case of bringing them on-board for this kind of usage."

It's a shame that the thing that will get users to appreciate the security implications of having an Internet of Things will be to have it exploited and used against them a couple of times.

No matter how old we get or how much change we see, as a general population, it seems that we need to keep touching the hotplate to remind ourselves of the damage it can cause.

I hope Refrigergeddon is gentle, but I fear it will be as harsh as we deserve.

Disclosure: Chris Duckett travelled to Computex as a guest of Intel

About

Some would say that it is a long way from software engineering to journalism, others would correctly argue that it is a mere 10 metres according to the floor plan.During his first five years with CBS Interactive, Chris started his journalistic advent...

1 comments
alfred
alfred

The government in UK is forcing every household in the country to have a "Smart Meter" for gas and electricity installed over the next few years. Apart from the horrendous cost currently estimated at £11Bn ( about $17Bn) which of course will be added to our bills with a profit margin for the utilities, there will be intrusion into our privacy. The unvetted staff at the utilities will be able to tell when we are on holiday creating a great help for burglary. With a vast number of identical meters it will not be long before Refrigergeddon strikes as hackers find ways to mess up the signals and use the cut off switch built into the meters to switch off the supply to whole districts. Chris your fears will soon be justified.

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