connected car

by Joshua Whitney Allen

Connectivity, driverless cars, and securing the Internet of things: Safeguarding the IT future

Published November 21, 2014


IBM’s public affairs division doesn’t often announce the company’s new patents, yet Big Blue informed the world this week of a U.S. government-granted patent for a data privacy engine. With an eye on the incessant obligations firms face in protecting information, IBM intends the design to secure businesses, institutions, and consumers operating in today’s—and certainly tomorrow’s—increasingly international economy.

According to the release, the concept helps organizations see restrictions that exist for different types of protected information that is to be transferred between two countries, including data stored in a private cloud. The engine also flags cross-border privacy issues and provides recommendations on how to resolve each issue, based on the information the business has collected and stored in the engine.

The release comes as analysts predict vast profits for the global Internet security market. According to Allied Market Research, the sector is expected to reach $42.8 billion by 2020, surely a profit forecast that excites IBM officials, who must reverse the company’s slumping fiscal performance.

Allied, a U.S. research firm, predicts the remarkable profit reach as more and more Internet-based applications enter usage throughout the global economy, applications that are threatened by a corresponding growth of virus and spam attacks. The phylum of security threats—botnets, distributed denial of services (DDoS), malware, spyware—is “providing a growth platform for the Internet security market to grow at a consistent rate,” according to a release.

Yet as the Internet—and more precisely, its central concept, connectivity—becomes more integral to the technologies that will characterize and facilitate our world, the market will always be motivated to answer the many risks that endanger linked and shared data. As the Internet is much more than social media and websites, its vulnerabilities span beyond viruses and annoying emails. The connected world that we have been promised—indeed, that we are already utilizing—offers weak points by the millions for hackers to exploit. In a lucrative game of threat and countermeasure, vendors will have to anticipate every type of attack to develop products that secure systems, businesses, and people—systems that sell.

Insights has looked at some of the risks attached to the most exciting near-future technologies—and the answers some experts have to the vulnerabilities of tomorrow:

Autonomous vehicles. Though some projections place driverless cars on the world’s roads 25 years from now, Nissan has predicted autonomous vehicles will hit the consumer market by 2020. Some experts believe that a hypermodern car offers not only easy and passive transit, but is also a target that criminals with tech skills would love to pursue.

According to SC Magazine, an ideal security system for a driverless vehicle would include: authentication that incorporates user profile data that is confirmed every time an individual tries to interact with the car; cloud-based management of digital identities; governance of vehicle usage; a centralized secure token service to protect the vehicle and vehicle-connected devices whenever actions are initiated.

Prescriptive analytics. The ideal analytic effort includes not only predictions of company productivity or customer behavior, but also provides suggestions of how a company can achieve a desired outcome. Doing predictive analytics one better, prescriptive analytics offers a thrilling degree of guidance to users, yet raises concerns over governance.

Education magazine Campus Technology addressed such concerns in a recent article about student usage of prescriptive analytics. According to writer Dian Schaffhauser, who interviewed tech officer Rajeev Bukralia of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, the pursuit of the issues and ethics related to student privacy forms a need for institution-wide data governance strategy.

“We need to understand how we handle data in the organization,” University of Wisconsin-Green Bay CIO Bukralia declared. That encompasses multiple aspects: agreement that data is a strategic asset; that data silos across campus need to be broken down; and that an information architecture is required in order to understand how the data flows in an organization.

Internet of Things. The showpiece idea of every tech-oriented conference, blog post, and PowerPoint presentation, the IoT and its hyperconnectivity of everything from industrial devices to toaster ovens, cars to skyscrapers, will require a deep inventory of safeguards if we hope to preserve any of the data that will flow through society.

As interconnectivity has already reached the market, stories are surfacing that disturb for the ease and intimacy by which hackers have jabbed forward, if even to mock, into the private lives of consumers.

Most shocking of all is a news report of an infant monitoring camera that was hacked by a man who proceeded to shout at the newborn child, intending to wake the infant and frighten it. He then harassed the parents, swearing and cursing at them.



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