For several years now, the number of things connected to the Internet—including phones, smart watches, fitness trackers, home thermostats, and various sensors—has exceeded the human population.
For the most part, this development promises great excitement and opportunity for engineers and society at large. But there is a dark cloud hanging over the IoT: the concomitant threats to security and privacy.
Our digital systems are vulnerable to malicious hackers. The current paradigm—a cat-and-mouse game of increasingly sophisticated hacks and software patches—presents a particularly thorny challenge for the Internet of Things. One reason is that security attacks on the IoT can have catastrophic consequences.
This article explores what might be a way out of this predicament. In a nutshell, the writers propose that the various gizmos making up the IoT should be built so that their very hardware can adapt to future security threats. That won’t be easy to engineer.