Security and privacy in IoT workshop at the IoT week Lisbon

The workshop had a double focus and was split in two parts.

Preserving security as IoT matures and consolidates from the current fragmentation

The contribution by Leonard Ciprian Pitu from Siemens highlighted that the number of attacks increased dramatically recently. Thus, hacking has become a major concern for manufacturers. It was stressed that security should start on device level, and on the hardware level. Life cycle risks: The impact of a large scale call back of for example white goods and the associated costs could be immense.

The contribution of Alexandros Fragkiadakis from FORTH highlighted that as IoT consists of highly heterogeneous networked entities and networks, a number of challenges have emerged including security, trust and privacy, scalability, legislation, and standardisation issues. The vast majority of the security challenges focus on authentication, access control, confidentiality, integrity, availability, and non-repudiation. A number of traditional security attacks (e.g. jamming), as well as novel attacks (e.g primary user emulation attacks in cognitive radio systems), are difficult to be detected and mitigated in the IoT, for reasons related to the vague ownership of the IoT devices, the resource constrained nature of these devices, standardisation issues, and legislation shortcomings.

The final contribution to the security topic from Antonio Jara (HOP UBIQUITOUS S.L.) discussed that in order to successfully break the traditional silos multi purpose and generic solutions, generic enablers, commodity like solutions and re-use of components are needed. Naturally, this process is expected to further increase complexity and heterogeneity, however integration should handle and manage the resulting heterogeneity. Further to heterogeneity scale is also an issue. Bootstrapping and registration of devices should be automated to scale. Connectivity should be global.

Levels of security – a layered approach is envisioned. Basic security should be present, to which increased levels can be added.


Innovation and privacy − approaches and best practices that support the innovation process and lead to actual privacy solutions that sell on the market

Klaus Moessner from the University of Surrey emphasised that we should not forget that ultimately the goal of IoT is to support people – technology solutions are only the means but not the end themselves. This means that users need to be involved. In the project SOCIOTAL a co-creation process is adopted to generate applications and uses that are responding to actual user needs and demands. However, the process needs to be transparent for bootstrap and to gain trust. Example given is measuring use and mileage of elevators to schedule service and maintenance in large block of flats – the Novi Sad case.

Data ownership –in most cases the situation is not black and white. Following the bubble principle, privacy circle / sphere, sensors of my smart phone, or other device might collect data for someone else, upon the initiative of that person. In case of a decision later by that someone else, actual data collected must be removed, but the fact / event that some data was collected cannot be erased.

Also, SOCIOTAL does not directly focus on preventing passing on the data to third parties that was made available. However, there were other research efforts that focused exactly on that − the “sticky policy” approach investigated in iCore was provided as an example.

Open data – principle is that data collected using public money should be of public good and serve the purpose of the community. However, as the presentation from Smart Aarhus by Jesper Algren revealed privacy needs to be observed, which sometimes means that geographic accuracy / precision of data needs to be reduced, or only cumulative data (for example from a certain geographic area) needs to be stored to prevent traceability back to individuals. Furthermore, economic impact and interest should be of concern, as certain data generated might have severe negative impact on property valuation, etc.

Another observation made was that health data / records are immensely sensitive.

Open Data Aarhus, being a small player with administration backing can not afford mistakes similar to the XBOX case, when user data was leaked on a very large scale. Any such or similar incident would have a devastating effect on reputation of the initiative, and would mean the end of the project, political support would stop.

Suggestion from floor – Ivan Meseguer, Institut Mines-Télécom – that a more active international dialogue might be helpful, as the problems the different European countries are facing are similar in this relatively unchartered territory. Admittedly though there are historical and cultural differences also embedded in the various jurisdiction frames and practices. Still, a more active dialogue and sharing of best practices would support and ease the way forward, as opposed to acting in isolation.