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IoT security: Lack of expertise will hurt, says Bruce Schneier

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Government action at national and international levels is essential for addressing IoT security issues, but the relevant expertise is lacking, according to security expert Bruce Schneier

Governments have a crucial role to play in tackling what he sees as the next big security challenge, he told Infosecurity Europe 2016 in London.

One of the biggest challenges, according to Schneier, is that there is no good regulatory structure for IoT which connects finance, health, energy and transport information.

“We don’t know how to do this, so we are going to need government solutions that are holistic that will deal with IoT devices no matter what they are doing,” he said.

There is a requirement, added Schneier, for a new type of national and international structure to handle the new types of systems that are connecting data in new ways.

He said that these new structures should be repositories for new technical expertise that is lacking in current government policy debates.

There is stark lack of expertise, said Schneier, in things like large personal databases, algorithmic decision-making, IoT, cloud storage and computing, robotics, autonomous agents.

“These are all things that the government is going to run headlong into and need to make decisions about because there are a lot a decisions that markets aren’t going to solve,” he added.

Some pundits have suggested that market forces will address many of the potential risks of IoT, but Schneier doubts they will and claimed that markets are short-term, profit-motivated and work at the expense of society.

“There also needs to be some counterbalancing force to the enormous corporate power we are generating through the innate network effects of the internet,” he said.

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