2017 IoT Predictions: More Innovation, More Large-Scale Security Breaches

Forrester released its “Predictions 2017: Security and Skills Will Temper Growth of IoT” report. IoT holds the promise to enhance customer relationships and help drive business growth, however, it brings multifaceted complexity, the report said.

Also, IoT presents a two-pronged threat in 2017. It may potentially expose businesses to breaches, and hackers could turn IoT devices themselves into distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) weapons, according to Forrester.

“Interest in IoT has hit a fever pitch,” Forrester’s Frank Gillett says in the report. “IoT was the number one search topic not only among CIOs but across all Forrester clients over the past six months. But technologies and use cases for the IoT are wildly divergent. IoT is an amalgamation of specific use cases and technology, some of which you can leverage across use cases.”

Forrester’s predictions include:

  • IoT will be distributed across edge and cloud, boosted by AI and containers. IoT solutions will be built on modern microservices and containers that work across this distributed architecture. Also, IoT data will be coupled with increasingly powerful AI and machine-learning cloud services capable of consuming this data.
  • The first prototypes of smart contracts built on blockchain will appear. Researchers have been exploring how to enable reliable autonomous financial transactions, using blockchain technology to ensure distributed transactions. The first pilots will begin in 2017.
  • Vendors will offer a “dizzying array” of wireless tech to support IoT field use cases. Small-burst traffic, dense sets of connections or long distances require new forms of wireless connections, such as LoRaWAN, Sigfox or 3GPP’s narrowband (NB)-IoT. Carriers like AT&T will roll out enhancements such as LTE-M to take advantage of existing networks.

Now, the bad news. Forrester predicts there will be a large-scale IoT security breach. When smart thermostats alone exceed 1 million devices, “it’s not hard to imagine a vulnerability that can easily exceed the scale of other common web vulnerabilities such as Heartbleed, especially if multiple IoT solutions include the same open source component,” the report said.

The hottest areas of adoption are especially vulnerable, including fleet management in transportation, security and surveillance applications in government, inventory and warehouse management applications in retail, and industrial asset management in primary manufacturing, Forrester said.

“Hackers will continue to use IoT devices to promulgate DDoS attacks,” Gillett said in the report. “In 2017, we’ll see hackers continue to exploit IoT device vulnerabilities to launch other attacks, not just compromise devices.”

Other predictions include:

  • IoT will simultaneously shrink and enrich mobile moments. More and more mobile moments will be on connected devices, from smartwatches to home appliances, to cars and virtual assistants. These connected devices will offer a rich stream of data, from heart rate to home temperature, to mechanical failures, that service and product owners can use to help consumers achieve outcomes.
  • New categories will drive consumer IoT faster than replacement products. Two new categories of smart home tech — appliances that offer access to virtual assistants, and smart camera systems — will jump to 10% of homes in 2017.
2017 IoT Predictions: More Innovation, More Large-Scale Security Breaches

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