IoT Cyber Wars Shaping IntelliGO Technology

In mid-September of this year, I was fortunate enough to be officially invited to visit China to attend and speak at a conference in Nanjing. It was my first time in China. I found Nanjing or Southern Capital (Nanjing was the capital of the Southern dynasties for more than two and a half centuries) and Beijing or Northern capital to be, not surprisingly, two populous and amazing cities with great historic sites like the Forbidden City and Great Wall. Gracious hosts, the chinese invited me for a tour of Nanjing Software valley, a great modern Silicon Valley type site that did not exist five years ago. It is impressive how fast China has modernized in a short time.

My topic for the conference was about significant and rapid changes in our world, changes that will impact our lives and work. I was talking about the explosive growth of IoT devices and their connected possibilities and the continuously evolving cybersecurity challenges and how these two driving forces are creating business opportunities and shaping our IntelliGO development today.

This change creates new business and economic opportunities for those who boldly adopt it to create abundance but those who ignore it will quickly become dinosaurs and face mass extinction.
- Khaled Mansour, CEO IntelliGO Networks
IoT is a power that will change our world. And while we are starting to see its incredible impact, we are still very much at the beginning of this transformational journey. This change creates new business and economic opportunities for those who boldly adopt it to create abundance but those who ignore it will quickly become dinosaurs and face mass extinction.
IOT is the ability to connect the unconnected – physical-first objects previously incapable of generating, transmitting and receiving data. This includes Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication. While the Internet of Everything (IoE) comprises four key elements including all sorts of connections imaginable (People, Things, Data, and Process). IOE is considered a superset of IOT and M2M.

IoT will be a tremendous enabler of better information and communication in both the consumer and business environments. The impact of IoT will be across the board. All of the systems that we don’t think about in our day-to-day life will be more effective in keeping humans productive so the impact will be everywhere.

Over half of major new business processes and systems will incorporate some element of IoT by 2020, assures Gartner. The impact on consumers’ lives and corporate business models is rapidly increasing as the cost of “instrumenting” physical things with sensors and connecting them to other things – devices, systems and people – continues to drop.

The implications of IoT on every aspect of life will be profound. Certainly, there will be great benefits including more efficiency and less waste, but it may also lead to some gray areas. For example, in some cases, machines will start to replace human decision-making. We can already see some potential issues today with both simple machines like meters and complex machines like cars and jet engines becoming intelligent and connected.

IoT will produce close to $2 trillion of economic benefit globally. IoT will have a great impact on the economy by transforming many enterprises into digital businesses and facilitating new business models, improving efficiency and new forms of revenue.

The most promise is to cut costs and raise efficiency in production and manufacturing. IoT, for example, promises to bring to the automotive industry changes that we can’t predict yet and is already influencing how carmakers build their vehicles and how they think of the future of their products.

To enable all that, common communication and connectivity standards must be developed and adopted and potential cybersecurity challenges must be managed. While standards for IoT are important, I will not elaborate this time on these challenges; I will only touch on the security enablement aspect of IoT.

While future economic and productivity gains will come from connecting the unconnected through IoT, we cannot ignore the fact that a major hindrance to its adoption will be actors who continue to create Cybersecurity challenges for all of us. These are challenges that must be managed as their creators evolve their techniques to become more evasive in nature and as they continue to operate in stealth mode.

Today, we are certainly witnessing today the industrialization and monetization, through manufacturing and distribution of powerful and sophisticated malware and exploit techniques. This is largely to serve a growing demand for espionage and cyber warfare activities, all to further concentration of wealth and power. These, for some, represent significant threats, and for others, opportunities and it very much depends which side you are on.

The existence of these potential threats will most certainly hinder adoption of IoT in many business environments, critical infrastructures, manufacturing, healthcare etc. And while standardization of the communication layers and protocols are still work in progress, protection of IoT devices, sensors and their connectivity can not and should not be ignored. It is an essential and critical component of IoT design, build and deployment. To manage these challenges, IoT must be enabled by actionable security intelligence to detect and respond to Cyber threats emanating from this emerging Cyber war.

At the heart of this protection by actionable security intelligence is visibility, control and automation. This means the ability to take action, in an automated fashion, based on a set policy rules and any IoT device and connectivity security information presented through visibility tools. This security information must be collected in real time at the source and it must be presented both in contextual and a situational sense in order for it to be useful and relevant.

The key to protection is the kind of information that must be visible and under control at the source. This information must include, the state of security or protection applications running such as antimalware, exploit detection software, backup, device firewalls, the existing vulnerabilities, missing security patches, compromises which already exist on devices, and authentication credentials. It must also include the ability to identify all applications on a device and query operating systems on devices in real time to prevent the kind of DDOS incident that occurred on Friday October 21st, 2016.

At IntelliGO Networks we have long recognized that IoT and Cybersecurity challenges are major driving and opposing forces which will shape our future. These forces have driven us to create an enabling technology to accelerate adoption of IoT devices while keeping security posture at an appropriate and acceptable level of risk management. This technology provides, the visibility, control and automation expected to manage Cybersecurity challenges.

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