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January 19, 2015

WEF warns of IoT security and privacy threats

The Global Risks report urges industry and regulatory bodies worldwide for "effective governance".

By Amy-Jo Crowley

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has called for "effective governance" at all levels to minimise the security and privacy risks unfolding from the Internet of Things.

In its annual Global Risks report, which examines economic, environmental, societal, geopolitical and technological risk, the WEF highlighted the security and privacy challenges set to come from the emerging market.

"While the "Internet of Things" (IoT) will deliver innovations, it will also entail new risks. Analytics on large and disparate data sources can drive breakthrough insights but also raise questions about expectations of privacy and the fair and appropriate use of data about individuals," the report said.

The report, completed by 900 members of the WEF’s global multi stakeholder community, pointed to the growing interest around the connected car as an example of security risks.

"Security risks are also intensified. There are more devices to secure against hackers, and bigger downsides from failure: hacking the location data on a car is merely an invasion of privacy, whereas hacking the control system of a car would be a threat to life. The current Internet infrastructure was not developed with such security concerns in mind."

The WEF also advised industry and regulatory bodies around the world to reduce the security and privacy risks.

"Proactivity is especially crucial here given that the risks that might emerge from entirely new fields of knowledge are impossible to predict. Effective governance at all levels, from industry codes of conduct to national regulations and global cooperation, will determine how well risks from emerging technologies are foreseen and minimised," the report said.

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