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Airdate: Dec 14, 2016
Scientist: Charles Clancy

Cybersecurity - IDing the Fridge

Cybersecurity - IDing the Fridge
How do you do identity management for the "Internet of Things"?

Transcript:
Cybersecurity IDing the Fridge

Clancy: In many computing environments, knowing the identity of the user is a critical component of the security of the overall system.

But how do you establish the identity of something like your refrigerator? I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Clancy: A s we move away from the internet of people, which is what we've been doing for the last decade, and we move towards the internet of things, which is the next decade, how do you authenticate the identity of a smart phone or a wearable device or an internet connected refrigerator?

Charles Clancy is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Virginia Tech.

Clancy: 17:00 It's not as though you have to log into your refrigerator to open it. There's a key challenge that confronts the research community which is how do you do identity management of things rather than people?

So just as there's a fingerprint can establish a person's identity, the internet of things might call for a digital fingerprint.

Clancy: Microchips will have a similar fingerprint that can be used to authenticate them and ensure that they are who they say they are, and that piece of electronics is allowed to interact with the internet of things in the way that it should.

Sounds like an interactive serial number.

Clancy: It is a numeric identifier that only that thing knows and is able to reproduce. Typically, the way these things work, are that a system on the internet would present a challenge to that thing, and the challenge will be essentially a number. The thing has to then do a computation based on this logic that's embedded in the microprocessor that is unique to that microprocessor and it's physically impossible to copy. It would do the computation on that number and then the result that it would get back would be unique. And that combination of the two is what provides the unique identification of that device.

We'll hear more on Cybersecurity in future programs. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.