The Internet of Things (IoT) is widely touted as the next wave of internet expansion, connecting embedded sensing and control electronics in everyday products ranging from cars to refrigerators, televisions, wearable electronics and other smart objects, as well as enabling new system visibility and control in industrial applications such as utility grids (the so-called "smart grid") and improved healthcare through smart health applications (e.g., heart monitoring implants and implanted continuous glucose monitoring sensors). ABI Research estimates that the number of active connected devices will exceed 40 billion by 2020, more than double the estimated number in 2014, with roughly 75% of the growth coming from sensor nodes and other network-edge devices – i.e., IoT devices. Each IoT device provides an access point to the internet and therefore also offers an opportunity for cyber-attack. Currently most IoT devices incorporate little or no security, which combined with their increasing ubiquity presents an alarming scenario for future internet security, particularly because IoT devices are expected to influence or even control many aspects of our lives.
Most IoT devices operate in resource constrained environments. Usually they are subject to severe energy usage limits, with low bandwidth (and sometimes sporadic) communications to the internet, limited computing power and little on-board data storage. These characteristics present unique operational challenges and also unique challenges in providing an effective defense against cyber-attacks.
This subtopic calls for innovative new approaches to providing cybersecurity for IoT systems. Proposed solutions should not be limited to conventional cybersecurity techniques – the unconventional characteristics of IoT systems are likely to require new and unconventional cybersecurity methods. Proposing companies are encouraged to think outside the box.
Note: This subtopic is focused on cybersecurity innovations pertaining to IoT. Hardware innovations related to IoT should be submitted to the Internet of Things (I) topic.