Dangers of IOT

Concerns about the security of the Internet of Things are one of the stumbling blocks slowing down Industry 4.0. But this may just be a confusion between the Internet of Things in general and the Industrial Internet of Things.

The recent 2017 Consumer Electronics show had plenty of IoT goodies to show off. How about a trash can that reads bar codes (oh — you have to scan them before you toss a package) and adds the items to your shopping list? Maybe an app that allows you to set the precise temperature of the water in your shower? Or perhaps you’ll be intrigued by the Kissenger, a haptic device that allows you to send a kiss through your phone (or to kiss robots, though we’re not sure about the use case for this).

These items are a lot more likely to capture the public imagination than a new machine vision application. And recent high-profile IOT security issues have definitely gotten the attention of decision makers in manufacturing. Observers are imagining robots being hacked into and turned into weapons, large-scale industrial espionage accomplished by smart belt buckles, and machinery going rogue.

Seeing security cameras take down Netflix makes an impression. But in many cases it’s making the wrong impression.

Smart home technology creates security issues because it doesn’t have the bandwidth or the brain power to run secure software. That app that makes sure your shower hits 105 degrees before you hop out of bed can’t be hardened. It also can’t plot to murder you with deceptive shower temp. It doesn’t have the capacity.

This is a problem for IoT in the smart home. At least at the moment. Maybe Alexa will learn to solve these issues. But it’s not a problem for manufacturing. The more sophisticated technology involved in the IIoT has the capacity to be made secure. Industrial security is a burgeoning industry, and there’s certainly room for new ideas. But our understanding of industrial security needs to keep it separate from smart trash cans or wearable heart monitors. They’re not really the same thing.

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