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Researchers find gaps in IoT security

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Researchers from the University of Michigan and Stony Brook University published a paper explaining a novel approach to IoT security challenges (pdf). The researchers pose the question:

 “What are the new intellectual challenges in the science of security when we talk about the Internet of Things, and what problems can we solve using currently known security techniques?”

This research approach is very accessible because it uses existing categories and concepts by comparing security methods developed for smartphones, PCs and the cloud to identify the gaps and challenges to IoT security. The IoT stack is defined with the familiar layers:

  • Hardware
  • System software
  • Network
  • Application layer running custom code

A constrained hardware layer

The hardware layer is constrained by the lower-performance 8- and 16-bit microcontrollers and low-power designs. If Cisco’s IoT estimates of 50 billion devices shipping by 2020 are correct, using today’s technology, the electrical power used by all information communications technology would double, according to Peter Corcoran, Ph.D., of the University of Galway.

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