Last week, Forrester, one of the world’s most influential research and advisory firms, released its “Predictions 2017: Security and Skills Will Temper Growth of IoT” report. “IoT holds the promise to enhance customer relationships and help drive business growth, however, it brings multifaceted complexity”, the report states.
The report suggests that IoT may present a two-pronged threat in 2017. According to Forrester, “it may potentially expose businesses to breaches, as well as hackers could turn IoT devices themselves into distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) weapons.”
“Interest in IoT has hit a fever pitch,” Forrester’s Frank Gillett says in the report. “IoT was the number one search topic not only among CIOs but across all Forrester clients over the past six months. But technologies and use cases for the IoT are wildly divergent. IoT is an amalgamation of specific use cases and technology, some of which you can leverage across use cases.”
Forrester’s predictions include:
- “IoT will be distributed across edge and cloud, boosted by AI and containers. IoT solutions will be built on modern microservices and containers that work across this distributed architecture. Also, IoT data will be coupled with increasingly powerful AI and machine-learning cloud services capable of consuming this data.”
- “The first prototypes of smart contracts built on blockchain will appear. Researchers have been exploring how to enable reliable autonomous financial transactions, using blockchain technology to ensure distributed transactions. The first pilots will begin in 2017.”
- “Vendors will offer a “dizzying array” of wireless tech to support IoT field use cases. Small-burst traffic, dense sets of connections or long distances require new forms of wireless connections, such as LoRaWAN, Sigfox or 3GPP’s narrowband (NB)-IoT. Carriers like AT&T will roll out enhancements such as LTE-M to take advantage of existing networks.”
Now the Bad News
Unfortunately, with this increase in productivity, Forrester foresees a large-scale IoT security breach in 2017. When smart thermostats alone exceed 1 million devices, “it’s not hard to imagine a vulnerability that can easily exceed the scale of other common web vulnerabilities such as Heartbleed, especially if multiple IoT solutions include the same open source component,” the report said.
“The hottest areas of adoption are especially vulnerable, including fleet management in transportation, security and surveillance applications in government, inventory and warehouse management applications in retail, and industrial asset management in primary manufacturing,” Forrester said.
“Hackers will continue to use IoT devices to promulgate DDoS attacks,” Gillett concludes in the report. “In 2017, we’ll see hackers continue to exploit IoT device vulnerabilities to launch other attacks, not just compromise devices.”
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