The NIST report on international cybersecurity standardization for IoT

29 Nov 2018

The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published a report titled ‘NISTIR 8200: An Interagency Report on the Status of International Cybersecurity Standardization for the Internet of Things (IoT)’. The report analyses the present state of IoT cybersecurity standardisation in five areas: connected vehicle IoT, consumer IoT, health IoT, smart building IoT, and smart manufacturing IoT. According to the analysis of the areas, cybersecurity for IoT requires the modification of existing standards and the creation of new ones to address IoT challenges. The report concludes by highlighting existing gaps in current standards and how existing standards can be used effectively. The report recommends governmental agencies to work with the industry to initiate new standards projects in standards developing organisations to close the gaps.

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The Internet of Things (IoT) includes a wide range of Internet-connected devices, from highly digitalised cars, home appliances (e.g. fridges), and smart watches, to digitalised clothes that can monitor health. IoT devices are often connected in wide-systems, typically described as 'smart houses' or 'smart cities'.

Cybersecurity is among the main concerns of governments, Internet users, technical and business communities. Cyberthreats and cyberattacks are on the increase, and so is the extent of the financial loss. 

Yet, when the Internet was first invented, security was not a concern for the inventors. In fact, the Internet was originally designed for use by a closed circle of (mainly) academics. Communication among its users was open.

Cybersecurity came into sharper focus with the Internet expansion beyond the circle of the Internet pioneers. The Internet reiterated the old truism that technology can be both enabling and threatening. What can be used to the advantage of society can also be used to its disadvantage.

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