When security researchers first demonstrated that they could hack a car over the internet to control its brakes and transmission, Chrysler had to recall 1.4 million vehicles to fix the software vulnerability. The infamous Jeep hack of 2015 was an expensive wake-up call for the automotive industry. So, what has changed since then?
By 2020 more than 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet ― according to Cisco’s latest forecast. Smartphone traffic will exceed PC traffic and broadband speeds will nearly double by 2021. And by the next Winter Olympics (Beijing 2022), 1 trillion networked sensors could be embedded in the world around us. While tech experts offer slightly different projections of actual numbers, it’s clear that the Internet of Things (IoT) will grow exponentially. And this explosion means new opportunities for one-time programmable (OTP) non-volatile memory (NVM).
A few weeks ago, the fitness company Strava published a worldwide heatmap showing specific routes their customers have taken over the years. While it is a visual heatmap of human activity on the planet, according to various security researchers the heatmap also exposed private areas such as routes within top secret military bases. This is not a conventional data breach where sensitive data was exposed through a specific vulnerability in the software or device. In this case the device and software operated as designed. Rather, the flaw appears to be in how the end-user has configured their device in terms of collection and sharing, and that’s a flaw all too common in the Internet of Things (IoT) today.
So far, connected autonomous vehicles have been tested in urban settings. That may be part of a larger business model that suggests on-demand driverless vehicles may soon dominate urban areas. It may also reflect a much harsher reality: While there’s plentiful internet within urban centers, there’s less so everywhere else.