IT security for Industrial Internet of Things

Vulnerabilities in the vision of industrial digitalization and networking

In the future, more and more devices, systems and equipment will be networked under the vision of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The main thrust of digitalization and networking is increasing efficiency and flexibility in industrial processes. Almost the entire industrial value chain is saturated with complex IT infrastructures with mobile and stationary components.

​​IT security is one of the most critical factors in this area as damage caused by manipulation and illegal data access can quickly reach catastrophic proportions. Many manufacturers are choosing IT security made in Germany as an important quality factor.

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Side-step the Internet censorship threat

Most people in the Western world regard privacy as one of most fundamental rights in a democratic society. They also take it for granted that these democratic principles apply equally to the Internet. This is why the exposure of the NSA’s PRISM program in 2013 highlighting the extent of Internet surveillance by the US authorities was such a scandal.

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With sensors everywhere, how can we keep data secure?

The idea behind the Internet of Things (IoT) is that everyday objects can connect to each other and exchange data via the Internet. Even the smallest components, such as sensors for measuring temperature, angle of inclination or acceleration can send information or accept commands via the network. Current and future systems are based on the Internet protocol and will probably soon include ipv6 support. They transmit data in an open and well-known format. Depending on the application, data will most likely be transmitted via public networks. This means that data is in principle open to everyone who is connected to the network. Subject to the type of data the consequences range from unpleasant to catastrophic, which is why confidentiality must be protected and safeguarded. There are many ways of achieving this, especially through encryption.

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VPNs can ease privacy concerns

High profile data breaches at companies like Mossack Fonseca, Target, Home Depot and Wendy’s along with Government controversies like Edward Snowden and the FBI’s legal suit against Apple after the San Bernadino shootings have severely dented public confidence in the ability of business and government to keep personal data safe and secure.

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Control over our data

Anybody who uses the Internet uses, creates and leaves data behind. While in the past site visits were recorded in the depths of server log files rarely to surface again, these and related data are now the currency of the 21st century. Services are exchanged for data, this is the business model shared by Google, Amazon and many others. But people are becoming more aware that the uninhibited acquisition of their personal data may have negative consequences and no longer trust that their data is protected on the Internet.

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Smart buildings merit smarter security

Architects and city planners first began promoting the concept of Smart Buildings, or Building Automation Systems (BAS), around ten years ago. Smart buildings were meant to deliver untold benefits from energy efficiencies and greener lifestyles to cost savings and improved living standards for all. Early examples of IP-connected appliances, however, were not built to cope with the demands of an evolving threat landscape.

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Relevant security standards for Internet of Things

Virtually every study exploring the benefits of Internet of Things includes some reservations on IT security. According to an analysis by Deutsche Telekom 90% of managers are concerned about security (Cyber Security Report 2015), 70% of respondents surveyed by VDE see IT security risks (2) and a Bitkom survey reported more than 50 percent of study participants (3) were concerned about privacy and security. These concerns are well founded.

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