From smart fridges to apps that control your room temperature, connected devices are redefining what’s possible when it comes to home and domestic technology. But they’re also spawning new cybersecurity threats: that same life-improving Internet of Things (IoT) device could turn deadly if taken over by a remote intruder.
It’s a scary reality, but these fears also represent an opportunity for a new generation of computer engineers to tackle emerging security challenges in an ever-changing industry.
However, Canada is facing a severe skills gap in IT-related cybersecurity jobs, especially as the number of job-seekers declines despite an abundance of opportunities. More needs to be done to encourage people to develop these skills, and panelists at the BC Tech Summit offered their thoughts on solutions.
Tyson Macaulay of BAE Systems and Keith Cerny of ACL underlined the need for more post-secondary degree programs with a greater focus on cybersecurity. While some Toronto schools are focused on filling the gap, schools and institutes from across the country are encouraged to follow suit.
A significant part of the problem — especially with IoT products — is that not enough people realize the risks of their connected devices, said Absolute Software’s Jo-Ann Smith, another BC Tech panelist. The solution to this problem may start at home, where children could be brought up with a stronger knowledge of online threats.
With a solid understanding in cybersecurity, both kids and parents would be equipped to make better choices about which devices to allow into their homes. Further, fostering an early interest in connected devices with youths could lead to many more IoT and cybersecurity professionals in the future.
With automation — including machine learning and artificial intelligence — the cause of much debate for employment experts, cybersecurity looks to be one field that will need many more human workers long into the future.