Themes

The potential disruptive and transformational effect of the Internet of Things means that it will inevitably have impact across sectors. The work of the PETRAS Cybersecurity of the Internet of Things Research Hub is therefore aligned along five research themes, listed here, that by their nature will transect across several sectors and application areas. Each theme is directed by two research leaders, providing both technical and social expertise.

As the Internet of Things develop, systems must be designed that are socially and culturally acceptable. However simply evaluating how particular technology attributes affect an individual’s perception of the technology does not allow developers and users to consider the context of the future world. In assessing how a technology may be received we must consider both current real world settings as well as future IoT worlds that contain potential differing legal, contractual, corporate and governmental frameworks.

Theme Leads

Prof Rachel Cooper and Prof Paul Coulton (Lancaster University) and Prof Rob Procter (Warwick).

Projects associated with this theme

With unmatched scales of data being produced from the Internet of Things, the economic models of data are expected to change. Rather than value lying with the owner of the data sources, long-term value of the data will require it to become a tradable commodity. Value will also be harnessed by understanding how complex IoT–systems can increase efficiency. For example, using an IoT system to increase the overall throughput of a transport network. Here potential conflicts between increasing efficiency and ensuring security and privacy of individual participants must be understood. The human interaction with the system will also need to be understood, how can the system responsibly influence behaviour and increase efficiency of the transport network.

Projects associated with this theme

The Internet of Things is creating an unprecedented amount of data. This raises key privacy, trust and ethical issues. In the design of IoT we must identify these issues and resolve or mitigate for them rather than allowing them to be exposed at a later date. For example, traditional notions of consent to share data may be challenged; while one person may be willing to share data on health or DNA sequencing this could have unconsidered consequences for close relatives. Further to this, with generation of data in many aspects of our life, such as smart energy meters, how can we be sure that the recipients of the data are trustworthy or ethical, and will allowing access to our data be beneficial?

Projects associated with this theme

Across the wide array of IoT systems from small implantable sensors in healthcare — to city-wide sensing infrastructure — safety and security challenges arise from four different sources. The fusion of cyber, physical and human elements means that the Internet of Things must consider a holistic approach to security. Scale provides an array of challenges, at the city-wide level key management becomes increasingly difficult, with sensors as small as 1mm cubed integrating security is difficult. Device lifetime in some cases can be decades, with an ever adapting Iota ecosystem service need to be managed and updated. Potential compromises to a system must also be considered, enabling the ability for resilient continued operation.

Projects associated with this theme

Balancing the significant opportunities offered by the Internet of Things with its unique challenges to privacy and security is a key concern for governments. In the UK, this leads to questions about where responsibility and liability for the cybersecurity of IoT devices and systems is situated and what the government can or should do to ensure that innovation is fostered while maintaining appropriate security. In order to do so, we must investigate potential regulatory and standardisation gaps between IoT application areas, device certification schemes, and information and network security policies. However, achieving “security by default” in IoT requires assessment of wider policy instruments, such as incentive schemes for responsible innovation, new information sharing models and new insurance market mechanisms.

Projects associated with this theme