Keeping Campuses Safe from Evolving Internet of Things

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The Internet of Things has been increasingly more prominent in colleges. From a Google Home in a professor’s office or a control system to a power plant, there is no sign of IoT devices slowing down their spreading. Analysts project that within three years, IoT devices will outnumber traditional computing devices. These devices have a diverse amount of benefits, although they come with a great amount of security concerns. In fall 2016, hackers only added upon these concerns by harnessing thousands of video cameras along with other devices in order to conduct the largest distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in history.

These attacks only brought upon the question of the security of the IoT devices. This concern has even been highlighted by many of the IT leaders. Instead of being victim to these attacks, campuses should learn from this and keep their networks secure in the new era. Colleges often use sensors for physical plants to send back data about temperature, humidity, and other issues in order to optimize the functionality. These devices were once hard-wired to control systems, but it is getting more common to connect them to a network.

IoT is also arriving on campus the same way that most technologies do: with students and faculty who use personal devices connecting to the network without consultation from anyone. Anywhere through the campus, especially through the residence halls or faculty offices, there will be IoT everywhere: wireless speakers, game systems, and personal assistants for just a start. Administrators are rapidly deploying IoT devices with the form of any device being a smart device. There is connectivity everywhere, it would be harder to find something that isn’t a smart device, even soda machines or parking card readers. Every physical system upgrade will involve connecting to the network to support payment collection, permission validation, inventory review or another administrative function. Steps to secure all these devices must be taken in order for the safety of the network to be maintained.

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