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Adapting Cyber Security to the Physical World

Menno van Doorn
May 02, 2014

yXAXZlcIf you value security in programming you want to ensure that users can’t input data in input fields that might cause buffer overruns or code injections. You make sure that all input is verified and sanitised before it is passed on to your core code (input validation). If this sounds complicated, just keep reading for a real world adaptation that might clear things up.

This is a guest post by Gerben Tijkken, datacentre specialist at Sogeti and Futurist

Now it seems that this principle it also being used on real world bike locks. If you find it hard to understand the principle, look at how this bike-lock does basically the same in the real word. Why do I think this is amazing? This is a great example of an existing idea that is being used in a different domain. Someone took a fresh look at a problem of lock-picking and found that in IT we have a similar problem and took the existing solution and voilà. A bike lock that can not be picked with a lockpick (code injection) or a bump key (buffer overflow). This is also relevant within the context of the internet of things which makes the physical world increasingly programmable, and therefore hackable. The security of embedded systems, where computing is embedded into the hardware itself — as with the Internet of Things — is riddled with vulnerabilities, and there’s no good way to patch them. If you want to read or see more, check out these resources at, YouTube and Gizmodo.

About the author

Director and Trend Analyst VINT | Netherlands
Menno is Director of the Sogeti Research Institute for the Analysis of New Technology (VINT). He mixes personal life experiences with the findings of the 19 years of research done at the VINT Research Institute. Menno has co-authored many books on the impact of new technology on business and society.


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