Speaking at the Qualcomm IQ event in Istanbul, CEO Dr Paul Jacobs was pushing the internet of things, but more like the internet of everything. However, security experts at AVG have released a damning report suggesting that the tech industry is setting the world up for a fall.
Dr Craig Barratt, who leads up Qualcomm Atheros, agreed with Jacobs. “The internet of everything is a key long term goal,” he said. While some of us won’t like the idea of a banana that tweets while you eat it, Qualcomm is deadly serious about connecting everything as much as possible. Not just screens, everything, hooked up to the internet in some way, talking to cloud servers on the other side of the planet and your wrist watch at the same time, connected to everything yet untouched in your living room.
Qualcomm says that the phone and the tablet will be a kind of pass key into that world of connected devices, so you can use your device to control, theoretically, any other device that can be online. According to Barrat, the “number of IP addresses in the home is 10 or 15 now, your smartphone, your tablet, but also your TV, your camera, ebook readers” and so on. “But we are at an early stage in the evolution”.
“The rate of progress at mobile tech is so rapid,” Barratt continued, “that the devices we use have capabilities that outstrip the requirements of a set top box or TV or even gaming devices in the home.”
Worried wearers of tinfoil hats have already noted that anonymity on the internet is fast becoming a thing of the past, even down to seemingly mundane points like choosing a pseudonym for a forum – it’s Facebook posts now, and both Google and Zuckerberg punish people for hiding their identities.
Take that concept and amplify it by about one thousand degrees. Your online presence and your real life are increasingly converging and becoming the same, until eventually, we’ll be living online and in the carbon world simultaneously, and it’ll be so exciting, and cleverly integrated, that the boffins who invent the technology will have designed it so we probably won’t notice it or at least worry about it.
Now, AVG’s report says it’s time to wake up about the real threats at hand here. As we have reported before, there are constant infrastructure attacks on the UK, and the Ministry of Defence even 10 years ago was getting bombarded by efforts to infiltrate its systems, mainly from China. The premise is the same, but in a way that could effect you personally, rather than the bigger picture a la targeted assaults on power grids and data centres.
Paranoia about geopolitics is one thing, but another very real threat has simpler motivations: money. Cyber crime is rampant and progress on that front does get more advanced. When the technology is in place and criminals realise the opportunity, AVG says we can expect them to take it.
AVG Security’s CEO, JR Smith, told TechEye that the internet of things, in his opinion, is where we are heading: “As a former mobile guy, it’s something I really care about, and they’re not really thinking about the security angle but the ,future business models depend on their ability to transact through their networks.
“I think that the world is definitely going that way. There’s not much to do to stop it, but we have to focus on how to protect against it. There’s from the network and machine level, which is what we do an awful lot of, but as we move into more and more connected devices, there is always that technical solution.”
When asked about the apparent lack of security questions surrounding future tech like this, he said: “I would agree that it is baffling”.
It is a startling world to imagine, where the fast pace of technology ensures it continues to invade every aspect of our life, where as one journalist at IQ2011 put it, adultery will be down 80 percent as the GPS on your Reeboks sends an SMS to your wife.