The Internet of Things (IoT) is on the agenda of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in a bid to remain ahead of enemy threats, according to Air Vice-Marshal Mark Neal.
The MoD's director of information systems and services, speaking at TechUK's Public Services 2030 Conference, said the defence of the IoT, among other technologies such as cloud computing, is a focus for the MoD.
"Things like the IoT may not be prevalent in the UK and public at large, but are very much part of the agenda within defence," he said at the event, attended by V3.
Potential threats can come in the form of cyber attacks aimed at networked devices with the goal of seizing control of command systems or stealing sensitive and valuable data as it travels between connected devices.
Neal explained that considering the IoT as a defence vector is part of the MoD's wider goal of using technology and digital information to "retain operational advantage" over potential threats.
"We need to be smarter at the manipulation of data and information than the other side," he said. "For me this is not an optional exercise. They [the enemy] are doing this anyway, and we need to able to respond like for like."
Neal said that the MoD and other public services need strong leadership from civil servants who champion the wider use of technology and data, something that is already happening in the military.
"In the military [the leadership] all talk about information being the lifeblood of the business. I think in style of defence we are changing, and the way you do that is through leadership," he said.
Part of this technology change is already happening in the British Army. Craig Collins, head of systems development for ICS Ops at Army HQ, said at the V3 Enterprise Mobility Summit that the military is considering the role of mobile technology in IT operations owing to the rapid evolution and adoption of consumer gadgets.
The MoD is not alone in considering the IoT's impact on national security. The US Federal Trade Commission warned at CES in January that the IoT poses serious security risks.
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