The internet of things is the internet connected network of embedded systems. Embedded systems can include our wetware, as much as a process logic controller in an industrial control system, or a camera embedded in a smartphone.
Anything internet capable can become connected to the internet, also known as the ‘internet of things’ and includes anything from fridges, air-conditioning and heating systems, cars, coffee makers, and ovens, to machinery, robots and utilities systems such as water.
Vulnerability increases exponentially with this level of interconnectedness and to protect the value of the convenience and cost effectiveness it affords, we need to manage the cyber security risks associated with it.
The consequences of not protecting these ‘things’ on the internet could include outcomes such as: electronic keys being stolen, cars being bricked, planes coming down, mass ordering of things that aren’t needed, everything being recorded and potentially falling into the wrong hands, recordings – banks of critical information – being deleted, lifts shaking or dropping, air conditioning temperature changes causing legionnaires, sewer systems out of control, mining trucks running over employees or colliding.
Adapted from Ernst (2013)