In­ter­net of Things and dan­gers in cy­berspace

SP's MAI - - INTERNAL SECURITY CYBER - LT GEN­ERAL P.C. KA­TOCH (RETD)

Much has been said in re­cent years about In­ter­net of Things (IoT); it is com­ing, it has ar­rived or it is grow­ing rapidly. But the enor­mity of IoT can be gauged from the one forecast that by 2030 there will be over 26 bil­lion con­nected de­vices that would av­er­age to about six con­nected de­vices per each per­son on this planet. This es­ti­mate may be ex­ag­ger­ated con­sid­er­ing an­other es­ti­mates put this fig­ure at 50 mil­lion plus by 2020. Of the to­tal In­dian pop­u­la­tion of 1.32 bil­lion plus, 34.8 per cent have In­ter­net con­nec­tions al­ready – to­tal In­ter­net users be­ing 46,21,24,989. In 2015, num­ber of In­ter­net users in In­dia was 35,41,14,747; im­ply­ing that 10,80,10,242 In­ter­net users have al­ready been added dur­ing 2016.

In June 2016, In­dia had sur­passed the US in terms of the num­ber of In­ter­net users and was trail­ing only be­hind China, ac­cord­ing to the an­nual In­ter­net Trends Re­port by Mary Mecker of in­vest­ment firm Kleiner Perkins Cau­field & By­ers, which also states that In­dia is grow­ing at 43 per cent ev­ery year when it comes to In­ter­net us­age as against a flat growth seen across the world. This re­port pegs the to­tal num­ber of global users at three bil­lion which is grow­ing at 9 per cent an­nu­ally, slower than what it was in the past few years. As per 2015 data, 94 per cent users ac­cess the In­ter­net through their mo­bile phones in ur­ban In­dia. 77 per cent of ur­ban non­work­ing women who ac­cess the In­ter­net also do so from their mo­biles. This is due to ad­vent of low-cost smartphones and rea­son­able tar­iffs, em­pow­er­ing con­sumers in hin­ter­land also to use data con­nec­tiv­ity.

IoT net­works the phys­i­cal ob­jects like de­vices and items em­bed­ded sys­tems with elec­tron­ics, soft­ware, sen­sors, en­abling ob­jects to ex­change data with man­u­fac­turer, operator, other de­vices through net­work in­fra­struc­ture, al­low­ing ob­jects to be con­trolled re­motely across ex­ist­ing net­work in­fra­struc­ture, cre­at­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for more di­rect in­te­gra­tion of the phys­i­cal world into com­puter-based sys­tems, re­sult­ing in im­proved ef­fi­ciency, ac­cu­racy and eco­nomic ben­e­fit. Ap­pli­ca­tions of IoT can be in­fi­nite to in­clude me­dia, en­vi­ron­men­tal mon­i­tor­ing, in­fra­struc­ture man­age­ment, man­u­fac­tur­ing, en­ergy man­age­ment, waste man­age­ment, safety man­age­ment, med­i­cal and health-care sys­tems, build­ing and home au­toma­tion and trans­porta­tion; en­com­pass­ing tech­nolo­gies like smart grids, smart homes, in­tel­li­gent trans­porta­tion, smart cities, etc. IoT can help com­puter man­age and in­ven­tory ob­jects and peo­ple, trans­form­ing daily lives. Ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy may see Wi-Fi be­ing re­placed by Li-Fi (light fidelity), ad­van­tage of Li-Fi be­ing its light­en­ing speed; smartphones could be con­nected to In­ter­net with a lamp giv­ing 100 times faster ac­cess than Wi-Fi. This was suc­cess­fully demon­strated at the Mo­bile World Congress held from Fe­bru­ary 22-25, 2016, in Barcelona, Spain. With an­a­lysts pre­dict­ing the num­ber of ob­jects that are con­nected to the In­ter­net soar­ing at enor­mous pace and the spec­trum for ra­dio waves used by Wi-Fi in short sup­ply, Li-Fi does of­fers a vi­able al­ter­na­tive.

Sure we can have bot­tom up con­ver­gence of data from IoT into ap­pli­ca­tions, web-of-things pro­vid­ing civic en­gage­ment and data-driven de­ci­sion mak­ing. How­ever, ques­tion of se­cu­rity re­mains not only in terms of spy­ing on peo­ple in their own homes but also cy­ber at­tacks in the phys­i­cal world. That is why it is said that if one thing can pre­vent the In­ter­net of things from trans­form­ing the way we live and work, it will be a break­down in se­cu­rity. The next step in IoT is the ad­vent of IoT ‘Ser­vices’. For ex­am­ple, Icon­trol Net­works Inc, founded in 2004, helps set up smart homes for clients.

So it is not get­ting ap­pli­ances and then con­nect­ing them to In­ter­net but mak­ing avail­able a com­plete home-au­toma­tion sys­tem. Sim­i­larly, the com­pany So­larCity re­lies on mak­ing their as­sets smart and con­nected by know­ing how much elec­tric­ity a home’s so­lar pan­els are pro­duc­ing, com­pared to its ear­lier busi­ness model of sell­ing elec­tric­ity di­rectly to home­own­ers. Now fears have emerged that hack­ers could hi­jack en­tire smart home sys­tems, ve­hi­cles, in­dus­trial con­trols and the like. But these are ap­pre­hen­sions peo­ple will per­haps have to live with while en­joy­ing the fruits of IoT.

IoT net­works the phys­i­cal ob­jects, en­abling ob­jects to ex­change data and al­low­ing ob­jects to be con­trolled re­motely across ex­ist­ing net­work in­fra­struc­ture, cre­at­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for more di­rect in­te­gra­tion of the phys­i­cal world into com­puter-based sys­tems, re­sult­ing in im­proved ef­fi­ciency, ac­cu­racy and eco­nomic ben­e­fit

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