Smart devices connected to the cloud could number 50 billion by 2020, and that means the security problems associated with BYOD offer but a small window into the potential hacking onslaught ahead.

It's Not All Android's Fault

We're not just talking about the Android mobile operating system. Android gets a bad rap. It's not the system so much as some of the apps that are truly little gateways for malicious code that tampers with people's smartphones and tablets. Successful hacking attempts on the Android system are encouraging attacks on other device classes as well, Adrian Turner, CEO of IT security firm Mocana, said at the Amphion Forum last week.

Many of the security problems (real or perceived) companies are running into with BYOD will no doubt expand as more smart devices (not necessarily mobile) are networked all around us. This is the world of the so called Internet of Things, physical objects that send out data in a wide variety of uses and industries.

Besides the simple number of devices that will become cloud enabled over the next decade, the complexity involved in the types of use cases will be mind boggling. Think about how hard it is for IT teams to allow connections of just three or four main mobile OSes (iOS, Android, Windows Phone, etc) onto the company system. Now multiply that by about ten and add in various industries and segments like hospitals, factories, digital signs, and our homes and automobiles.

screenshot-internetofthingsgraph-2012.jpg
A graceful rendering of the expected rise of connected devices and embedded software.

Machines Talking to Machines? How Perverse!

In the world of connected devices, the physical Internet of Things is sometimes referred to as machine to machine communication. A much less sexy word, but this is IT we're talking about. In this context, it is less about an iPhone connecting to a company's private server than it is a networked heart monitor connected to a general practitioner's iPad.

Obviously, things like cloud connected traffic lights and medical devices have great potential. However, that potential could be blunted by hacking attempts known as man-in-the-middle or bucket brigade style attacks.