Margin notes from the life of Arosha K. Bandara, PhD
Educating the IoT Generation
The Internet of Things (IoT) is fast becoming a reality with ever increasing numbers of network connected devices that have on board processing capabilities being integrated into everyday objects. Additionally, the rise of cloud computing platforms have moved more of our data into the network, practically removing limits on data storage and offering new ways of using this data. A few years ago, colleagues at the Open University set about re-imagining how computing should be taught in the face of this radical shift in computing technology. The result was called 'My Digital Life' (TU100) and I was lucky enough to join the OU in time to be able to contribute to this effort. In particular I worked on the design of a digital interface board and programming language that would allow students to gain hands on experience with the Internet of Things, building their own IoT devices in their very first foray into learning computing. We called this platform Sense - comprising the Sense Board and Sense programming environment. We've described this work, together with the experience of teaching 'My Digital Life' to almost 2000 students in the first presentation of the module, in a paper that will appear in a special issue of IEEE Computer. The paper is now available as a pre-print version and can be accessed at the following link:
IOT-2016 7-9 September, 2016, Stuttgart, Germany from Charith Perera
Recent DDoS attacks on key internet services, like the attack that affected the Dyn domain name service, highlighted the security challenges associated with the proliferation of insecure Internet of Things (IoT) systems. This attack exploited common vulnerabilities like the use of default administration passwords on IoT devices such as internet-enabled CCTV cameras, internet-enabled appliances and smart home devices, to recruit over hundreds of thousands of nodes into a botnet. This capability highlights the cyber security threats associated with the IoT and brings into sharp relief the importance of considering both security and privacy when designing these systems.
In recent work, presented at the Internet of Things Conference, we describe a privacy-by-design framework for assessing the privacy capabilities of IoT applications and platforms. Building on more general design strategies for privacy in informaiton …
There is a proliferation of devices being developed to form the building blocks of the Internet of Things (IoT), from Internet-connected power sockets and light bulbs to kettles, toasters and washing machines. However, to realise the full potential of the IoT, it will be necessary to allow these devices to interconnect and share data with each other to deliver the functionalities required by end-users. In recent research on end-user programming for the IoT, my colleagues Pierre Akiki, Yijun Yu and myself have proposed the notion of Visual Simple Transformations (ViSiT), that provides a visual programming paradigm for users to wire together IoT devices. The video above shows a demonstration of the ViSiT solution and full details of the approach will appear in an upcoming special issue of the ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (ToCHI).
I was recently invited by Heimdal Security to take part in an expert roundup, with the theme of "Is Internet Security a Losing Battle?". The main thrust of my answer was to question our use of analogies of conflict in the context of Internet Security or cyber security. As I said in my response: "... in this context the metaphors of conflict, such as ‘war’ and ‘battle’ are unhelpful because they suggest that internet security is the responsibility of the technologists who act our defensive force against attackers. Instead, as has been argued by technology activists like Cory Doctorow and others we might have more success by thinking of cyber security using the analogy of public health and communicable diseases. By using this analogy, we make cyber security issues more relevant to people and spur them to gain a better understanding that, like diseases, any of us can be afflicted by a cyber security attack. We can also adopt an analogous approach for handling cyber …