Volkswagen, the Internet of Things, and Cheating Sensors

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vwby Angela Guess

Forbes contributor Theo Priestley recently wrote, “Gartner IT analyst Doug Laney defined the 3 V’s of Big Data (Volume, Variety, Velocity) in a 2001 MetaGroup research publication. Since then there have been revisions by various analysts and vendors, but this week another V exposed a severe weakness not only in Big Data but against the Internet Of Things: Volkswagen. This week the automotive manufacturer has recalled nearly 500,000 VW and Audi branded cars in the US after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found models with Type EA189 diesel engines had been fitted with a device designed to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) under testing conditions. By rigging the engines to behave in this manner VW has cast doubt in the validity (or veracity, as it is known in Big Data circles) of the information generated by sensors and connected devices.”

Priestley goes on, “As I’ve stated during IOT conference keynotes before, the focus on the Internet of Things is not the thing itself, but the data generated by the devices and the value within it. What Volkswagen has brought to light is that we are far from being able to trust the validity of the data being generated in the first place. This goes well beyond whether the IOT industry can secure the data, agree standards, or indeed guarantee that consumer privacy rights are upheld. It’s well known now that in 2014 Context Security released details about how it was able to hack into the wi-fi network of one brand of network-enabled smart bulb, and control the lights remotely. ‘We bought some light bulbs and examined how they talked to each other and saw that one of the messages was about the username and password,’ said Michael Jordon, Research Director at Context. ‘By posing as a new bulb joining the network we were able to get that information,’ he added.”

Read more here.

photo credit: Volkswagen

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