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Security and M2M: Can We Trust the Machines?

By Carl Ford April 11, 2012

We can title this one “How the Terminator got the Go Ahead.” It starts off with this story about people making poor monitors and talks about AirFrance flight 447 that crashed in the Atlantic Ocean and features a co-pilot responding incorrectly to the stall warnings from the device.

If you follow this thread, by the time you are done, you will be ready to let the machines run the world. Adding to this is the latest Tim Maitlin book on the Titanic which suggests that the problem for the lookouts was an optical illusion common to the seas with arctic air.

So seeing is not believing.

Now comes some candid conversations amongst my cyber friends about how lax humans are with their passwords. Children’s names, birthdates, addresses, etc.

Clearly we have an issue about how we work with our systems. The more we can lock them down the better off we are, but the reality is that humans are by their nature untrusting and want to be able to see that things are working properly.   When we do so, we add vulnerability in the backend of the systems as well.

So what is the right answer to make M2M security systems? I am starting to buy into the notion that doing security in the cloud may have an advantage.

If I can’t trust my employees to use a hard password, or if saddled with one keeping in a notepad file or a piece of paper on their desk, it is probably better for monitoring to be done in a more removed manner.

Locking down the sensor, the wireless all strike me as table stakes. My sense is that security is more likely to be compromised in the analytics than in the gathering.

A key question I am pursuing now is whether the cloud brings a best practice to security you can rely upon. I say this because a friend had a breach thanks to his “partners’” storage method of shared data.

IMHO, at the end of the day the cloud may be the outsource strategy to implement for security and if that’s the case it’s a great place for our platform M2M friends to shine.

As more and more of the world moves to the Bring Your Own Device [BYOD] model, the lock down has to become more virtual.




Edited by Carrie Schmelkin

Partner, Crossfire Media

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