What the Internet of Things means for security

With more and more objects are connected via technology these days, it's time to investigate how they can be secured

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is still somewhat of a vague concept and carries a number of definitions. The IoT in general refers to an Internet-like structure that connects uniquely identifiable objects, basically anything that can be tagged with an identifying chip.

The "things" in the network take on virtual representations, and can interact with each other as well as gather data such as when and how objects are being used, their operating condition, etc.

Talk of the IoT first emerged through the work of the Auto-ID Center, a non-profit collaboration of private businesses and academic institutions that began creating of an Internet-like infrastructure that could be used to track goods around the world via radio frequency identification (RFID) tags containing Electronic Product Codes.

When the center closed in 2003, EPCGlobal was created to continue the effort to commercialize EPC technology, and the center's research continues today at Auto-ID Labs operated by universities around the world.

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In addition to the use of technology such as RFID, the IoT involves Web-enabling many types of products, equipment, vehicles and buildings so that users can capture and share data about the objects. Any "thing" on the network can then become a "smart object" that is part of the Internet and plays an active role in business processes.

These smart objects can potentially include any number of devices, products and corporate assets, such as cars and trucks, vending machines, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, construction equipment and other heavy machinery, gas and electric meters, traffic lights, household appliances and many other entities.

The idea of an IoT is becoming more popular with the advent of ubiquitous connectivity, lower-cost sensors and micro electronics that allow almost anything to be connected to the Internet.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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