Trend Micro’s Security Intelligence Blog has an interesting post today that looks at the changing demands of networked environments populated by smart “stuff.” Their conclusion: homes and businesses might find increasing need for someone to manage smart devices.
“Managing a household full of smart devices calls for the skills of both a multi-user IT administrator and a handyman. Let’s call this role the Administrator of Things (AoT).” As in the early days of business networks, this role is currently ill-defined, Trend notes, with “ordinary users” taking on AoT tasks despite “scant evidence that they are ready for it.”
Trend’s Geoff Grindrod doesn’t take a strong position on what the implications of all this complexity. (“This is something that should be looked into,” the report says.) However, he does anticipate friction. “How well people can actually perform (the job of AoT) has a huge impact on their daily lives, which includes the security of their household,” he said.
The complexity of the AoT job will depend on how much the makers of IoT products take upon themselves. Embedded devices for the home or office that come with default configurations that are secure and resistant to trivial hacks,or that can be updated and operated or that are able to operate autonomously will make the job of Administrator of Things easier. Devices that lack basic security protections or that are difficult or impossible to update will make the job much more difficult.
The job will also depend, of course, on the bad guys: how many and what types of attacks are launched against embedded and connected devices in the home or workplace.
If the current PC-centric household and office are any guide, the future is not a bright one, Grindrod notes. “How many of us have relatives or friends with computers that are old and full of insecure software? I’d bet we all know someone like that.”
Grindrod isn’t the first to look into the crystal ball and see chaos resulting from the rapid adoption of Internet of Things technologies. The Pew Center, in a recent report on the Internet of Things, cited experts like Howard Rheingold and Ian Peter predicting confusion and disorder as one byproduct of the Internet of Things. “We will live in a world where many things won’t work and nobody will know how to fix them,” Rheingold is quoted saying.