The security challenges facing the Internet of Things

Our world is now hyper connected. Current estimations are that there are about 10 thousand million devices with access to Internet and that, at the very least, the number of users will double by 2020. Apart from the numerous advantages and opportunities, an emerging capacity for connected devices to have an impact on the physical world has also been created, with a new series of vulnerabilities and possibilities to be exploited by criminals.

To address these vulnerabilities, addressing them effectively and understanding the great potential on offer, ENISA and Europol gathered together almost 300 experts from the private sector, from the security community and law application community and from the Community Security Incident Response Team(CSIRT) and from the academic world.

Conclusions from the meetings to be stressed are:

  • Security should not be an afterthought when designing systems, and the systems of Internet of Things–IoT– are no exception.
  • Implementing such security needn’t be complicated.
  • Police forces have to be prepared to go beyond responding in defence and incidence via the possibility of investigating and pursuing criminals that abuse the use of connected devices.
  • It is necessary to speak to digital forensic experts concerning IoT and the importance of the protection of data and privacy, bearing in mind their importance and the different categories of data gathered by the IoT.
  • The IoT has great potential and offers great opportunities to improve our way to interact with each other.
  • In 2019 and beyond, it is necessary to promote holistic, pragmatic, practical and economically viable security solutions, and it is necessary to bear in mind the whole ecosystem of IoT.

The IoT has many advantages at a policing level as a new tool to fight against crime. The police are already using connected devices like intelligent cameras for big events and to combat theft, fire alarm sensors to monitor when and with what frequency they are used, etc. It is important that the application of the law also invests in the security of devices connected to the IoT, to protect the privacy of the citizens they are working for.

Crime scenes are changing because of IoT: the data of doors, cameras, thermostats, fridges, etc. can provide vital and crucial evidence. The forensic techniques and training necessary will have to be used to protect this data. The big data gathered by IoT devices, for example, for facial recognition of camera images after an important incident will become an integral part of a crime investigation, but this also requires the necessary means to protect the privacy of the public.


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