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Internet of Things: Is It Safe or Dangerous?

As it stands, the Internet of Things can be a dangerous proposition. Due to various hacking techniques, like rubber ducks, pineapples, and pivoting, one must wonder, if it can be hacked into, and if so, then what can we do about it? What about cars, planes, trains, and power plants? To this point, the U.S. Government has launched the Cybersecurity National Action Plan or CNAP. The idea is to add more information and resources into the system, increasing the amount of resources to help build up cybersecurity and investing resources into security measures. So, what is the government doing with CNAP? How might this help a business? How might this help individuals?

What does CNAP do?

It’s a set of guidelines and goals that the Obama Administration has implemented to help build the cybersecurity network, protect against attacks on the Internet of Things, and the general national network as a whole. The first, and easiest way it plans to do this is through the 2017 budget, allocating approximately 19 billion dollars for cybersecurity, up by 35% from the previous year’s budget.  It also incorporates and promotes other existing goals and changes, such as the BuySecure Initiative requiring credit cards to incorporate smartchips, and making large businesses use the smartchip option rather than the traditional magnetic strip.  CNAP also incorporates other ideas, such as multifactor authentication, identity for Federal Government digital services, training for small businesses, and relaunching identitytheft.gov.  Therefore, it is less of a new initiative, but rather a continuation of previous actions.

How might CNAP benefit businesses?

CNAP should have some benefits towards businesses from a general perspective.  With the further spread of the Internet of Things, the concerns over privacy and security will increase all due to a Nest thermostat.  To that point, the General Services Administration has listed services and products that should increase security in the near future. Furthermore, there have been partnerships with various technology companies, like Google, DropBox, Facebook, and Microsoft, as well as financial institutions to increase the overall security. There has also been a focus towards implementing multifactor authentication, like a username that is combined with a passcode, image, or thumbprint (i.e., using biometrics to promote security).

Ideally, the partnerships with major technology firms and financial institutions will make it easier for smaller businesses to engage in online business operations because consumers will feel more secure.  As it currently stands, the multitude of risks associated with online purchases for consumers may deter some from purchases. Furthermore, the government’s investments in additional security measures may have ramifications in the consumer/business market, as it spawns more innovation in blocking out various hackings.  However, some of these changes, while they may be more secure, such as multifactor authentication, may also be more burdensome for online purchasers.

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