Internet of things

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The "Internet of Things" (IoT) is the interconnection of many "smart" physical devices ranging from coffee makers to automobiles on the Internet. Household items such as appliances, HVAC systems, and security systems can all fall into this category. When these devices are connected to the Internet so they can be remotely controlled or monitored, they can gain great flexibility. Cars, infrastructure systems, commercial equipment such as PLCs, and many other electronic devices can also connect to the Internet for a variety of purposes. In some cases, there is no control function, but only data collection. This data can be used for generating efficiency and "environmental impact" statistics, behavioral learning, and a myriad of other "big data" purposes.[1][2]

Risks

Probably the greatest cause for concern in the Internet of things is vulnerability to attackers. If a person's coffee machine stops working properly due to a cyber attack, that would not seem very serious. However, since these devices are interconnected, they can often be used to attack other devices as well. For example, in one factory, coffee machines reinfected an entire factor's systems with ransomware.[3] Perhaps even more dangerous is the fact that some infrastructure can be remotely accessed. Terrorists, political enemies, or any other skilled person with ill intent could potentially impact a large amount of the infrastructure in a developed country. On a smaller scale, automobiles can also be make to act dangerously. Whether it is made by a well-known company or not, car systems can be attacked and made to act in improper and dangerous ways. Some have been made to pop their doors open, and do other strange things,[4][5] while other cars have been made to apply braking[6][7] and even accelerate.[8] With physical access to the car prior to the attack, this process is even easier and more dangerous.[9]

Etymology

The term Internet of Things first appeared in a published article in 2002.

References