Cyber Security, IoT and do we need passwords?
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Cyber Security, IoT and is it time to get rid of your password?

Cyber Security, IoT and is it time to get rid of your password?

Posted on 1st May 2018

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A friend who has his business account with the TSB has not been best pleased recently. He’s obviously not the only one. The TSB fiasco has led to lots of bad press and with the weekend’s investigation by the Sunday Times suggesting that the Russians’ use of bots may have been an influencing factor in the last general election, there is yet more focus on the state of cyber security in this country.

IoT image

A somewhat alarmist article by Hugo Rifkind in The Times today, entitled “If our tech breaks we’ll all be back in the dark ages,” highlights the dangers of our modern lives being so dependent on technology. He imagines a situation where ”your internet-enabled fridge has defrosted itself into a puddle on the floor and your internet-enabled cat-flap is slamming repeatedly.”  While these are conjecture, the TSB problem is all too real, but a more serious article in Computing Weekly discusses the issue in far more measured terms.   

Essentially an interview with National Cyber Security Ian Levy, the CW article proposes a raft of changes that would start to tackle the everyday security of the type that concerns Rifkind.  For example, Levy says we need to get rid of passwords, because “they don’t work and they don’t do what people think they do. They don’t work for people, let alone security. We need better ways of authenticating.”

He also says we need better interfaces: for example “an email interface that flags any emails that do not come from the sources they claim to be from.” We have had experience of this at Be-IT (fortunately caught before it caused a problem) and would be first in the queue for just such an improved email interface. 

Mr Rifkind’s concern that the IoT would lead to a melt-down (and not just of your fridge), needs addressed. The government is trying to do this with its new code of practice for the IoT, but that doesn’t invalidate some of his concerns. The fact that most companies which talk up the threat from cyber criminals are trying to sell their products to protect us from that threat is another issue.  Add in all the bad PR that social media and the other tech giants have had recently and this is an issue that’s not going away.  It’s too important to be left to business on its own: governments need to play their part too (although confidence in the latter is not exactly at an all time high) and above all we need more sensible, rational articles from experts appearing in the mainstream press, as opposed to scaremongering opinion from the national dailies’ journalists.  

Nikola Kelly, MD, Be-IT

Posted in Cyber security, News, Opinion

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