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Schneier: Slow down the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things is becoming ever more prevalent in our lives. Based on research conducted by Gartner there will soon be in excess of over 11 billion Internet-connected devices (not including smartphones and computers) in circulation worldwide, with this figure expected to be reached by 2018. As a sign of growth, this figure of 11 billion stands as almost double what it was in 2016.

Regionally, the Gartner report finds that Greater China, North America and Western Europe are driving the use of connected things and the three regions together will represent 67 percent of the overall Internet of Things (IoT) installed base.

The Internet of Things can deliver many advantages. These include accessing information from any location and in real time, delivering advantages in communication, automation, and dependability.

However, the way the Internet of Things is currently configured and the weak controls over regulation leaves everything open to an ever increasing number, and ever more severe series, of cyber-attacks. This is the opinion of Bruce Schneier. Schneier is a U.S. cryptographer, computer security professional, privacy specialist and writer.

Schneier has a new book out, titled Click Here to Kill Everybody. In the book, he fears ever more cyber-attacks and he argues that governments need to step in now in order to force companies that are developing connected gadgets to make security a priority rather than something bolted-on afterwards.

Schneier expands on his concerns in an interview with MIT Technology Review. Here he states: “The Internet now affects the world in a direct physical manner, and that changes everything. It’s no longer about risks to data, but about risks to life and property.” He cites medical records and the ability of hackers to affect power grids as much bigger and more dangerous risk factors as more of the world gets drawn into the connected space.

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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