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Should the Government Regulate IoT Devices?

Should the government regulate IoT devices?As security concerns rise about Internet of Things (IoT) devices, so does the debate about the necessity of government regulations. Should the government regulate IoT? Many Internet of Things devices on the market today have little to no security built in, which can compromise the privacy and even personal security of consumers.

Many consumers today are not (yet) clamoring for more regulation. A lot of them do not realize that their smart devices may be compromising their privacy in significant ways. Yet there is a growing concern from those in government and industry that something must be done. The question is, however, whether more secure devices will arise through government regulations imposed by governments that are often hacked themselves, or by the Internet of Things industry itself.

Should the government regulate IoT?

Proponents of government regulations see the following benefits to having the government regulate IoT devices:

  • Standards applied to every device that help to protect the security of consumers
  • Requirements for patches that take new security concerns into account

Opponents take a different view. Should the government regulate IoT devices, they are concerned about:

  • Regulation and bureaucracy stifling innovation
  • Expensive regulations eliminating smaller companies, reducing consumer choice and competition
  • The government lacks the expertise to effectively regulate these devices

What are lawmakers doing today?

Several countries are already proposing regulations related to this issue. For example, in Australia, lawmakers have proposed a certification for IoT devices with requirements such as:

  • Changeable, non-guessable, non-default passwords
  • Not to expose ports to the wider internet
  • Software updates to fix known vulnerabilities

In the United States, lawmakers are working on a bill related to devices purchased by the federal government that includes requirements such as:

  • Devices must be patchable, rely on industry standard protocols, and be built without hard-coded passwords and known security vulnerabilities
  • Alternative network-level security requirements for devices with limited data processing and software functionality
  • Cybersecurity coordinated vulnerability disclosure policies will be required of all contractors that provide connected devices to the U.S. Government

It is essential that Internet of Things devices become more secure in order to protect consumers, governments, and organizations alike, while complying with international data privacy regulations. Whether that is done through government regulation or industry self-regulation remains to be seen. Likely it will be a combination of both. As consumers and organizations alike become more aware of the security risks of IoT devices, the market demand for more secure devices will grow, increasing the supply in a market-driven economy. Likely we will see the government regulate IoT devices, while the market demand increases.

What do you think?

Should governments regulate Internet of Things devices? Or can the industry self-regulate? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

And if you’d like to learn more about the Internet of Things, check out our newest course program: IEEE Guide to the Internet of Things.

 

References:

List, J. (2017, 16 Oct). Aussies Propose Crackdown on Insecure IoT Devices. Hackaday.

Corsec. (2017, 27 Sept). IoT Security Facing Government Regulation. Corsec blog.

Thierer, A. and O’Sullivan, A. (2017, 12 June). Leave the Internet of Things Alone. US News & World Report.

Thomson, I. (2017, 15 Feb). You Know IoT Security is Bad when Libertarians Call for Strict RegulationsThe Register.

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Hot Jobs in the Growing IoT Job Market

IoT Job MarketAs the Internet of Things (IoT) market continues to grow, so does the IoT job market demand for highly skilled engineers and other technical professionals that can develop and support the billions of devices predicted by 2020.

Lack of Skills for IoT Job Market

Unfortunately, however, Immersat Research Programme research shows that 47% of organizations completely lack IoT skills, and plan to outsource everything. This brings challenges too, however, as Gartner predicts that three fourths of IoT projects will take twice as long as they should due to lack of IoT talent. (Florentine, 2017)

Average Salaries for IoT Engineering Jobs

With an IoT job market that is growing exponentially, it’s a great time for engineers to develop the skills needed to compete in the IoT job market. Here are some of the most in-demand skills in the IoT job market for engineers, along with their average salaries:

  • Machine Learning engineer – Average salary US: $128,549, India: Rs 900,000
  • Big Data engineer – Average salary US: $90,286, UK: £28,190
  • Node.js Senior Software engineer – Average salary US: $115,826, Saudi Arabia: SAR 110,006
  • Data Scientist – Average salary US: $98,763, India: Rs 905,608
  • Security engineer and Infrastructure Security engineer – Average salary US: $129,000, Canada: C$79,554
  • Electrical engineers (embedded device development for mobile apps and RF/analog and microwave engineering for communications systems and GPS) – Average salary US: $92,283, Germany: €48,652

Develop Engineering Skills for the IoT Job Market

IEEE Continuing and Professional Education courses help you prepare for the hot IoT job market with an ever expanding collection of online courses that you can take any time, anywhere, on any device. Courses are taught by the world’s leading experts in these courses, so you can be sure that you get the essential skills needed for career growth.

New to the Internet of Things? Start with the IEEE Guide to the Internet of Things course program.

Ready to expand your skills? Explore our library that includes hundreds of hours of online education designed to help you advance in your career.

Invest in your success. Learn something new today.

References

Florentine, S. (2017, 21 Sept). 10 Most In-Demand Internet of Things Skills. CIO.

Salary Search (2017, 16 Oct). glassdoor.

Strauss, K. (2017, 25 Jan). Hot Jobs for 2017 — By Industry. Forbes.

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The Benefits of Smart Cities

The Benefits of Smart Cities: IEEE Innovation at Work

Smart Cities are here, using Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to improve the power grid and other utilities, increasing efficiency and stretching municipal funding.

But that isn’t all.  Imagine you are heading to an event in a city where parking is notoriously difficult.  Don’t worry about parking your car.  Instead drive your autonomous vehicle to the venue (the streetlights will be sure to illuminate as you pass, turning off and saving energy after you’ve driven by.).  Your self-driving car drops you off, and then uses its IoT connection to the city grid and drives itself to available parking.  When it’s time to leave, your car picks you up.

This type of connected experience is not far from the realm of possibility. When municipalities create smart city experiences that pool resources and share data, they create places that residents want to live, and to which businesses flock. And the best part is that these technologies tend to improve efficiencies and save money, paying for themselves within a few years. (Horn, 2016)

How can smart cities technology transform and benefit these communities?

  • Smart cities pool resources and maximize cost savings that translate to better community services. Municipal entities have found cost savings by initiating simple improvements to their planning, resulting in funding for more programs that support more of their residents.
  • Coordinating IoT initiatives have a positive impact on the residents of that community. According to John Horn, CEO of Ingenu,A city that illustrates a commitment to improvement through smart initiatives is more likely to build strong, well-informed, and healthy communities.”
  • Finally, as these communities get recognized for their positive attributes, it attracts more people to the neighborhood.  They will want to live, work, and play in these areas, generating additional revenue for the community. Besides the individual, companies migrate to places that centralize resources, because this reduces the costs of doing business and in turn attracts customers.

Even though the smart city image of self-driving cars isn’t here yet, IoT technology is a cornerstone of tomorrow’s community.

Learn more about the Internet of Things, a crucial component to smart cities; check out IEEE Guide to the Internet of Things.

References

Horn, John. (2016, December 14). 3 benefits a smart city can gain from smart infrastructure. ReadWrite.

Ismail, Nick. (2017, August 29). How Smart Cities will Lay the Way for Autonomous Cars. Information Age.

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How to Make IoT Batteries Last Longer

Make IoT Batteries Last Longer: IEEE Wake-Up Radio InfographicAnalyst firm Gartner predicts that there will be 8.4 billion connected “things” in 2017, which will then expand to 20.4 billion Internet of Things (IOT) devices by 2020. That number is staggering. And it is reasonable to expect that a great many of these devices will run on batteries. Yet battery life can be limited. How do we make IoT batteries last longer?

Consider the use cases:

  • Wearable medical devices that cannot be hard wired
  • Logistics sensors on vehicles, moving from place to place
  • Agricultural IoT devices in the middle of fields
  • Smart home consumer devices that are easier to install without hardwiring, increasing market adoption

…and these are just a few instances of the many IoT use cases that will require battery operated devices. Given the sheer number of devices, it is essential that IoT manufacturers create devices that have a long battery life while maintaining optimal performance. We must make IoT batteries last longer.

This is why the IEEE 802.11ba standards working group is developing the IEEE Wake-Up Radio standard. This technology has the potential to increase battery life in IoT devices from months to years. When you consider the cost of replacing 20.4 billion batteries (both the batteries themselves, as well as the time involved), this will have significant economic impact.

How it Works

IoT devices have an embedded radio that has to “wake up” in order for data to be transmitted. The longer the device is awake, the more power it consumes, but the higher the performance. To solve the power issue, a 2nd, low-power, duty-cycled Wake-Up Radio is added to the device that waits for transmissions. This Wake-Up Radio only wakes up the main device when it is needs to, allowing a longer device sleep state without compromising performance. Ensuring that the Wake-Up Radio uses duty cycling increases the battery life even more.

The result is a high-performance IoT device that last for years rather than months on a single battery.

The impact is clear. IoT devices that will run on IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi®) connections need IEEE Wake-Up Radio. Device manufacturers need this information now, in order to build this into their IoT devices of tomorrow.

IEEE Technology Report on Wake-Up Radio

To help IoT device manufacturers prepare for IEEE Wake-Up Radio even before the standard is released, IEEE is offering a technology report that outlines the technology, use cases, and more. The report will be released on 2 November, 2017, and is available for pre-sale now. Device manufacturers that begin planning for IEEE Wake-Up Radio now will have a competitive advantage, especially in consumer categories where IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi®) connections are ubiquitous. They will be able to make IoT batteries last longer in their devices.

Increasing battery life in IoT devices is essential. When it comes to devices that run on IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi®) connections, IEEE Wake-Up Radio is the solution. Pre-order the IEEE Technology Report on Wake-Up Radio now, and prepare your organization for a competitive advantage in the future.

 

References

Tung, L. (2017, Feb 7). IoT Devices Will Outnumber the World’s Population this Year for the First Time. ZDNet.

McCormick, D. (2017, Nov 2). 802.11ba Battery Life Improvement – Preview: IEEE Technology Report on Wake-Up Radio. IEEE Xplore.

 

 

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IoT and Data Privacy

IoT Data PrivacyThe Internet of Things (IoT) can produce massive amounts of data. This data has to be transmitted, processed in some way, and then potentially stored somewhere, hopefully securely. (Pollmann, 2017) Much of this data is personal data, and some can be quite sensitive. This brings data privacy questions to the forefront. How secure is the data that is generated by IoT devices? How is it used? What happens to that data once the process is complete? IoT data privacy is key.

When considering data privacy regulations around the world, particularly those required by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) that go into effect in May of 2018, the amount of data generated by the growing IoT is a pressing concern. Both developers and consumers of IoT devices will be held responsible for their use of personal data.

Questions to Consider for IoT Data Privacy

Some of the questions that IoT developers and consumers need to consider:

  • What personal data does my IoT device collect about others?
  • Where is that data sent?
  • How is the data used?
  • Is all of the data collected used, or is there information the device should not collect?
  • Does anyone else have access to the data?
  • Where is the data ultimately stored?
  • How long is the data kept?
  • Do we need to build in an expiration time frame for data storage?
  • How secure is that data during transfer and storage?
  • How will consumers be notified if there is a data breach?

The fines for non-compliance with personal data regulations can be millions of dollars/euros, so it is essential that IoT device manufacturers, as well as those that use them, take the time to understand these regulations, and then consult with attorneys on an approach to personal data use, transfer, and storage. IoT data privacy needs to be built into these devices from the ground up, so that personal information remains secure.

Is your organization developing IoT devices? How do you take IoT data privacy into account? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

And to learn more about the Internet of Things, check out IEEE Guide to the Internet of Things. This course program will provides the foundation that you need to understand the Internet of Things and some of its industry applications.

 

References

Pollmann, M. (2017, September 25) IoT data is growing fast, and security remains the biggest hurdle. IoT Agenda.

EU General Data Protection Regulation Portal.

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Millennials, Ownership, and the Internet of Things

Millennials, Ownership, and IOT PrivacyMillennials are concerned, and rightly so, about connected devices and security. Nearly 75% of Millennials surveyed by KPMG indicated they would be likely to “use more IoT devices if they had more confidence that the devices were secure.” (Strother 2017) As developers of IoT devices consider the market viability of their devices, this creates a two-fold challenge. Not only must they develop more secure devices. Developers also need to convince Millennials that these devices are more secure, and worth adopting.

As digital natives, Millennials potentially have greater exposure and access to devices. As a result, this is one area Millennials can offer some insight and guidance to older generations. While Millennial use of IoT products is lower than other generations, one considerable factor is because they are not yet homeowners. (Strother 2017) Many of the developments in IoT devices are in smart home technology, which Millennials may just not need yet. Yet there are also other concerns, most notably IoT privacy.

The Millennial reaction to privacy concerns and adoption of IoT devices can lead the way in how other generations should view these devices. Perhaps because they are digital natives, they have a different understanding of ownership, and having control over your things continues to evolve in our digital world.

Those in Gen X and Baby Boomers were raised during times where the definition of ownership was simple. You bought something and it was yours. Today, however, we are more likely to rent access than own anything. And often times that access comes at the cost of the information collected by our devices. Today an individual’s private information is currency, one we often give up in exchange for the convenience of digital devices. Since IoT devices generate and pass a great deal of personal information, the cost of these devices can be high, paid in the currency of privacy. IoT privacy is a pressing concern.

So, how can one build and develop IoT devices that consider the new ideas of ownership and take into account growing privacy concerns?  There must be a fundamental understanding of how standardization will play a role in IoT privacy and ownership, as well as plans to evolve as quickly as technologies and questions arise.

Could your organization benefit from a more comprehensive understanding of the Internet of Things? IEEE offers courses to help businesses prepare through the online course program IEEE Guide to the Internet of Things.

 

References

Strother, N. (2017, March 24) IoT and Millennials. Forbes.

Michels, D. (2017, September 12) Today’s Property Rules Don’t Work in our IoT World. Network World.

 

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Medical Device Cyber Security is Essential

medical device cyber security

No one wants to imagine that their pacemaker or insulin pump can be hacked when their life depends on the proper functioning of these medical devices. However, a recent Ponemon Institute survey discovered that 67 percent of medical device manufacturers and 56% percent of Healthcare Delivery Organizations (HDOs) think an attack on a medical device in use is likely to occur over the next 12 months (2017 Trip Wire). That information provides an added layer of anxiety for patients, medical providers, and manufacturers, and makes medical device cyber security more important than ever.

There is good news, though. In the last 5 years, healthcare providers and manufacturers have made an effort to include cyber attacks in their contingency plans, and put into place resources to mitigate a potential breach. (2017 TripWire)

These well designed security plans for medical device cyber security include:

  • Dedicated budget for cyber security
  • Cyber security professionals included in the staffing headcount
  • Risk assessments regularly performed by healthcare providers
  • Regularly conduct penetration testing
  • Security awareness and training programs made available
  • And much more…

The US Food and Drug Administration has been making inroads to mitigate any potential attacks with updates to security measures and by seeking to formalize guidelines. As with all guidelines, they do not have to be followed. However, if a provider adopts the recommendations, medical device cyber security can be improved, making the industry and the patient less apprehensive. (2017 TripWire) Not to mention the fact that the provider can use these security measures as a competitive advantage.

Want to learn more about cyber security and how it can affect the healthcare industry? IEEE offers both cyber security and ethical hacking training to help corporations prepare. Learn more about institutional pricing and request a quote here.

References

Newman, L. (2017, March 2) Medical Devices Are the Next Security Nightmare. Wired

(2017, August 27) Highs & Lows of Cyber Security in Healthcare. TripWire

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Study Reveals Most Organizations Are Unprepared for Cyber Attack

Study Reveals Most Organizations Are Unprepared for Cyber Attack

A recent study released by Arctic Wolf Networks (2017) has found that many organizations are completely unprepared for cyber attack, and Internet of Things (IOT) devices are only making the problem worse. In the wake of attacks such as the one on Equifax, it has become clearer than ever that every organization needs a comprehensive cyber security strategy in place.

The study revealed that 100% of the companies that were included use at least one IOT device. Because these IOT devices often do not have the necessary security infrastructure built in, they are easy targets. While nearly every company had a firewall and antivirus system in place, that is unfortunately just the beginning of what is needed. The advanced threats seen today easily bypass these measures and many organizations are unprepared for cyber attack.

The Equifax attack, for example, was an attack on a web application. (2017, Wolff-Mann) This type of attack tricks an interactive web page, such as a form, into giving up far more from the database accessed than requested using a SQL Injection Attack. So for example, rather than just providing the requested information, any information stored in the database could be captured by hackers, and used for nefarious purposes. Unfortunately, many organzations focus on network security instead of software security, resulting in data breaches such as the one experienced by Equifax. Rohit Sethi, COO of Security Compass, believes that the automated testing and scans that many organizations rely on cannot measure up to what a trained human being can do.

Several industries have found themselves subject to attacks on IOT devices, with transportation leading the way. 29% of transportation companies have reported being subject to an attack, followed by 22% of energy, oil and gas; utilities, construction and property; and IT, Technology and Telecoms. And this number is expected to rise as cyber criminals become more sophisticated in their attacks. The infrastructure maintained by these industries is critical, and organizations cannot ignore the necessity to put trained personnel and advanced systems in place to protect the people that they serve. As hackers become more sophisticated, ignorance is no longer an excuse to be unprepared for cyber attack.

It is up to every organization to get the training and put the systems in place needed to defend against cyber attack, and protect their organizations and customers.

Does your organization need cyber security training? IEEE offers both cyber security and ethical hacking training to help organizations prepare. Learn more about organization pricing and request a quote here.

 

References:

Wolff-Mann, E. (2017, Sept 8). Equifax hack exposes a major cybersecurity gap. Yahoo! Finance.

Arctic Wolf Networks. (2017, Sept 7). Ransomware of Things: When Ransomware and IoT Collide. arcticwolf.com.

 

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IoT and Insurance: How IoT Data Will Transform an Industry

IoT and Insurance: How IoT Data Will Transform an IndustryThe insurance industry has always tried to assess risk: how likely is it that something bad will happen? This assessment is based on a number of demographic and other factors that help insurers decide how much risk is involved, and how much premiums will cost. With the evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT), however, insurers have the opportunity to assess risk at a more granular level, opening the way to a new class of products and services that take the data produced by IoT devices into account. The Internet of Things and insurance work together to provide a better customer experience.

For example, Vik Renjen, SVP Sutherland Global Services, predicts that auto insurers will offer “usage-based insurance.” This takes into account “history of speed, distance, turning and braking patterns, time of day and much more from the vehicles of prospective policy owners.” (Reiss, 2016) When insurers take a look at the actual driving patterns of the people they insure, then the best drivers will receive the best prices on their insurance.

IoT devices can also help alert  property owners to events such as fires or water leaks, which can prevent more damage and larger insurance payouts. (Makhluf, 2017) These environmental monitoring systems are inexpensive to install, and alerts can be received through a smartphone. In addition to alerting property owners, IoT systems can also be created to mitigate the problem. For example, a water leak might cause the water valve to be turned off. By using these systems, greater damage and expense can be avoided, which makes these systems a great benefit to insurance companies and property owners alike.

Finally, wearable devices can be used to encourage healthy behaviors and reduce health insurance costs. Insurance company John Hancock, for example, distributed free Fitbits to its customers. This encouraged healthy behaviors, which meant that customers were less likely to file a costly insurance claim. (Drinkwater, 2016) Additionally, wearable health devices help patients and their physicians identify health issues early when they can be treated for less expense, rather than waiting for more serious conditions to develop.

The Internet of Things and insurance is a game-changer, and will only continue to help insurance companies gain insight into the behaviors and risks presented by their customers. This will result in premiums that are better matched to customers, and lower risk for the industry.

Want to learn more about the Internet of Things? Check out the newest course program from IEEE: IEEE Guide to the Internet of Things. Special discount pricing for organizations!

References:

Drinkwater, D. (2016, May 24). 10 Real-Life Examples of IoT in Insurance. Internet of Business.

Makhluf, J. (2017, Sep 5). How IoT is inviting insurers into smart homes. Property Casualty 360.

Reiss, R. (2016, Feb 1). 5 Ways the IoT Will Transform the Insurance Industry. Forbes.

 

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Significantly Improve Battery Life: IEEE Wake-Up Radio Infographic

IEEE Wake-Up Radio is a groundbreaking new technology being developed by the IEEE 802.11ba standards task group that will significantly extend the battery life of devices and sensors on wireless networks, particularly those that are part of the Internet of Things (IoT). The infographic below gives a high-level overview of this cutting-edge technology that will greatly improve battery life.

IEEE Wake-Up Radio infographic: Significantly improve battery life of Internet of Things devices with this low-power, high-performance solution

Ready to learn more about how to improve battery life in Internet of Things devices? Connect with an IEEE Content Specialist and pre-order your copy of the groundbreaking IEEE Technology Report on Wake-Up Radio today!

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