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Car Hack Highlights Security Concerns Topping New IoT Developer Survey

Talk about good timing.

"Who would want someone to hack into their connected car and remotely apply the brakes while they're in the middle of rush hour traffic?" a new survey of Internet of Things (IoT) developers from Evans Data Corp. states in explaining how security is of foremost concern to those coders.

At almost the exact same time the survey was published, just such an exploit was publicized by researchers who remotely took control of a car, as detailed in a Wired article titled "Hackers Remotely Kill a Jeep on the Highway -- With Me in It."

Security is always the top concern in surveys of this type, but someone controlling your car while you're driving it somehow hits home much harder than wondering if your Social Security number is among the millions of records just stolen in the latest highly hyped data breach.

"Twenty-one percent of developers report that the notion that items can be hacked is their primary concern regarding the Internet of Things," Evans Data said, noting that this worry was also No. 1 in a Spring 2014 report (though the respondent percentage for this item dipped slightly).

The new survey, titled, "Internet of Things Study 2015, Volume I, polled 578 developers currently working on connected-device or sensor-based projects or expecting to within six months.

Following potential device hacking, rounding out the top five concerns were: technology will exceed demand; variety of data; privacy (items can be tracked); and amount of data.

Keeping IoT Devs Up at Night
[Click on image for larger view.] Keeping IoT Devs Up at Night (source: Evans Data Corp.)

"Security and privacy concerns have been with the Internet of Things even before it was conceptualized as such," Evans Data said. "Part of these privacy and security considerations relate to Big Data -- or, more particularly, how, how much, what types, and where these various data are gathered and stored.

"On top of the myriad of data that a connected device, such as a home automation hub, sends and receives, developers and their organizations must consider how these data are collected, what is done with these data, and where this data will reside when at rest," the company continued.

Other highlights of the for-sale report include:
  • Most programmers do most of their programming on Windows 7. That's followed by other versions of Windows, with Linux coming in at a distant fifth place, followed by Mac OS and a tiny Unix segment.
  • The concept of cloud computing is most associated with the IoT, followed by Big Data, real-time event processing (which increased from the previous survey, nearly matching Big Data), cognitive computing and Wi-Fi enablement.
  • Office-related projects dominate development, as opposed to the highly publicized consumer segment.
  • Analytics of aggregated data is the primary focus of IoT development, followed by middleware and back-end/server work.
  • App sales are the primary way developers make money from their IoT projects, followed by device sales and API use.

Meanwhile, as if to emphasize the importance of developer concerns illustrated in surveys like this, Fiat Chrysler last week issued a recall of 1.4 million vehicles to retrofit them with hacker protection. No cost estimate for that task was provided.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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