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Hyperconnexion, the resilience challenge

14/04/2017

Hyperconnexion describes the constant connection between humans, machines, or humans and machines. It is the direct consequence of the development of the Internet and the use of its associated technologies. In the last few years, global annual IP traffic surpassed the zettabyte; it is now expected to reach 2.2 ZB by 2020, i.e. 194 EB per month. In the meantime, broadband speeds should continue increasing to reach 47.7 Mbps by 2020, compared to 24.7 Mbps in 2015. Mobile devices and Wi-Fi connections should account for at least 2/3 of total IP traffic by 2020, taking over PCs as the main source of IP traffic.

The boom of IoT is central to these expected developments: the number of devices connected to IP networks should reach three times be three times as high as global population 2020. This will contribute to the spread and overlay of interconnected infrastructures, digital services and information system networks, which will make information available at all times while making it possible to track and record all digital activities and communications. With the Internet of Everything, hyperconnectivity blurs the lines between internal and external networks, which are being replaced with continuous chains of interdependent mesh connections. In this context, the least-protected connected device may become the weakest link, with potential cascading effects on the entire chain. The best illustration of this is the attack implemented on 23rd October 2016 by the Mirai botnet, which managed to block the Dyn DNS server via 150,000 video surveillance cameras. This set-up as networks or networks of networks poses a real resilience challenge, in that they question the capacity for systems to face the consequences of an attack or the failure on one link of the chain, and to resume business as normal.

The development and widespread use of connected objects will also affect the organisation and governance of our societies. Supported by the emergence of new technologies like 5G, ubiquitous computing, artificial intelligence or cobotics, the IoT will reach all sectors and will pose resilience challenges at various levels. Individuals will be impacted through home automation technologies, connected health and « quantified self » tools. In the work place, the rise of the industry 4.0 will impact production and processing methods as well as working patterns. As for smart cities, they embody the reconfiguration of urban territories and collective living spaces. Hyperconnectivity also impacts the relationships between social groups and redefines power relations and power balances between individuals, organisations and governments. Therefore, cyber resilience relies on a systemic approach to security that involves individuals, processes and techniques alike.

Hence the need to adjust behaviours, practices, and security technologies, but also legislative and regulatory frameworks, in order to take into account this new environment and its impacts on our way of life. Who or what may be help responsible in case of an incident or an accident involving connected objects? Will new data protection provisions be required? In a context where technologies –and what use we make of them– impacts the organisation of our society, philosophical and ethical questions will also need to be addressed. All these issues will be discussed at FIC 2018, and we look forward to seeing you at Lille Grand Palais on 23rd & 24th January 2018!