By the Blouin News Technology staff

Security questions for the internet of things

by in Personal Tech.

A man talks into his smartphone in the financial district in San Francisco, California. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

A man talks into his smartphone in the financial district in San Francisco, California. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

The internet of things is swiftly progressing; smart watches are joining the consumer electronics market, smart thermostats are becoming mainstream parts of the larger smart home, and all manner of object that once was lifeless now has the promise of connecting to the internet. Of course, with a growing community of devices comes the concern of how to protect the networks that run on them. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission meets today to discuss ways in which the internet of things and the growing numbers of internet-connected devices will impact security standards as a whole.

As home automation grows, household machines are increasingly communicating with one another (although we are still a far cry from a popular internet-connected toothbrush as seen at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year). And as more devices communicate across networks, the more outlets there are for security breaches. The FTC will explore how to adapt web security practices to a market that indicates future growth for machine-to-machine communication technology. This growth is big for the medical industry as well, as mobile health practices are made possible by machines taking at-home readings for patients and then transferring them to information systems for physicians. And as such technology can improve medical practices, it all needs to be kept confidential. How to secure so many web-connected devices against breaches?

Verizon is taking a crack at it. The company announced a new cloud-based system today that will manage secure digital certificates for internet-connected devices. The data will live on the Verizon Cloud and the platform will authenticate the certificates to ensure valid ones enter the network.

Naturally, with more internet-connected devices comes more web activity to regulate. And when the web activity is no longer on desktops, laptops, smartphones, or tablets, new rules need to be set in place to govern the devices that are driving the traffic. Verizon’s cloud is now one option, but the FTC could come up with its own ideas.