Can we keep up with the Internet of Things (IoT)?

In a recent article by the PR Newswire, the claim is made that by 2020 the IoT market will have swelled to 28+ billion dollars (yes, that is a ‘b’) by 2020.  When I first read the article I thought the number was a little inflated, but after some further thought I think it may actually be low.  Here is my reasoning:

The IoT proposition is that everything that could be on the Internet, should be on the internet.  That means that your electric toothbrush could as easily be an end-point on the web as would be your phone or your car.  The attached problem with IoT however is that IoT devices won’t be as smart as systems routinely hosted on platforms like cars or phones.

Add to this that the smaller, and lighter weight processors on the IoT devices, will be slower, and more restricted in what they can or cannot do.  That means that while your smart phone might have some hope of fending off an attack, your toothbrush won’t.  The result will be then that your “connected” toothbrush will either get smarter, or the manufacturers will simply ignore many security issues because they would add to the cost.

Now you’re saying – “Who cares if my toothbrush is hacked?” and to that I reply, a hacked toothbrush (or whatever) is another possible attack path into your world.  Hacking a toothbrush to give you a sub-optimal tooth-brushing has no value proposition, but using a toothbrush to snoop in your environment or to act as an attack vector could easily be a problem.

So IoT devices will either need to be secured (at the user expense) or sold in a more secure form.  All of which costs dollars.

On to the brave new Internet!