Why IoT is Different

The Internet of things (IoT) includes the current internet that we know and use every day, but it is different because we will be sharing it with more devices. These devices will utilize the internet to communicate with us, and more importantly, to also communicate with each other. Thanks to the expanded addressable network space of IPv6, we will be able to share the same network space, but we can expect more machines that may be distributed in remote locations or clustered in local zones. These machines often make decisions and take action without people in the loop.

What is different between the IoT and the internet we know so well?  The IoT will come to represent billions and eventually trillions of devices speaking to each other, very often managing outcomes of a physical environment.    Before IoT, security impacts were largely logical – they were about data manipulations and loss. The threat was to data, not the direct action or manipulation of physical assets.  Threats were against valuable data like credit card numbers, financial results and trade secrets, personal information, media and digital content.  With IoT, threats can be directed towards people, places and things that reside in the physical world, because the IoT brings a new interface onto the network en masse: the logical-physical interface.

The IoT is not just a new type of world-wide-web server, with fancier pages and more clever ways of mashing up data so we can consume it. It is not about news feeds or emails or any other types of data created by people, for people.  It is about data created by machines, mixing and mingling with the data created and consumed by people. It is about a massive, emerging, machine-made info base existing alongside the current, man-made info base.

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