Cyber Security and The Internet of Things

   The internet has unarguably progressed society through the turn of the millennium. From only 700 million internet users in the year 2000 to well over 3.7 billion today, the internet has transformed the way society and the global economy functions.  It has provided an unprecedented form of global connectivity, but in a world that is more connected, it is much easier to organize crime, more specifically cybercrime. Think about all the data that is generated on a daily basis. Think about every action you've had that has involved the internet today, between checking social media, sending emails, searching Google, and clicking on this post, you've already generated enough data for someone to know quite a lot about you.

   To better quantify the vast amounts of data humans generate here are some examples. In 2017 269 billion emails were sent on a daily basis, Amazon processed $373 million in sales every day, 5.2 billion Google searches were conducted every day, 22 billion texts sent every day, 656 million tweets per day, you get the idea. The internet is growing at an exponential rate with more people gaining access to it each day, especially in emerging markets. With the internet growing and the economy pivoting towards an inevitable digital shift, it is vital that cybersecurity is scaled properly to ensure that we can trust the systems that we have in place. Would you send a confidential text to a friend, knowing that it would be intercepted by some random person, would you send a Twitter DM if you knew that it would be compromised by someone you've never even met? These aren't fictional scenarios, these are real possibilities we must address.

   Cybercrime is one of the most organized fashions of crime. When done properly it can be almost completely undetectable, which is terrifying. During the time you're reading this, you could have loads of personal information stolen from you without you even knowing. Most data breaches occur far before the public hears about them, let's take a look at some of the most recent examples. If you're American, chances are you heard about the Equifax Inc.'s cyber-security breach which granted criminals access to 145.5 million U.S. Equifax customers' personal data. This included full names, credit card information, birth dates, addresses, and Social Security numbers. Home Depot also fell victim to cybercrime in 2014 when malware installed on their network allowed for the information of 56 million payment cards to be stolen. Corporations aren't the only ones who have had trouble with protecting their information. Google's corporate servers were hacked in 2009 by alleged Chinese hackers who gained access to a database containing classified information about suspected spies, agents, and terrorists under surveillance by the U.S. government.

   So it seems like everything is vulnerable, and this trend looks as if it will continue unless radical infrastructural changes are made, which seems unlikely. The IoT, or internet of things promises to bring the connectivity of an estimated 30 billion IoT devices by 2020. So what exactly is the IoT? Here is a simple way to think about it. The internet started off where you could only gain access to it through a computer with a physical connection, but soon the network connectivity evolved to laptops, then smartphones, and now includes home appliances, cars, and even certain watches. By definition, the IoT is a network of physical devices, vehicles, home appliances, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enables them to connect and exchange data. With all these new devices connected to the internet, it brings along the burden of making sure they don't fall victim to cybercriminals. Blockchain technology has been proposed as a solution to the security complexity that the IoT creates, but there are other solutions as well.

   Cybercrime will always exist as long as the internet exists, that is certain. Instead of searching for all the cybersecurity firms and understanding them in their entirety to pick the right one is tireless work and probably a waste of your time. Instead of doing that I got the best of the entire industry through the ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) (HACK). This ETF includes a portfolio of companies providing cybersecurity solutions that include hardware, software, and various other services. If you want exposure to the IoT through an ETF then I would ask that you check out (SNSR) which is comprised of companies that stand to potentially benefit from the broader adoption of the Internet of Things.

If you have any questions feel free to email me at comments are also welcome.

Disclaimer: This is not investment advice, the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
Disclaimer: I am long (HACK).
Disclaimer: I have no position in (SNSR) but may initiate a position in the next 48 hours.