The crime-busting IoT is making us safer

Last updated: 26 January 2023

Detective stories like The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Poirot, Midsomer Murders, and True Detective are enduringly popular, but could they become more technical in the age of the IoT? Connected technology is helping to make the life of a criminal more difficult than ever before. Whether it’s burglary, car theft, or online bank fraud, clever solutions are available which offer multi-layered protection. If Agatha Christie were alive now, she might struggle to create a menacing villain capable of evading capture, or having any success at all! We thought it was time to look at the trickiest innovations protecting us from crime.

Preventing car theft

For a car to be stolen, a criminal must gain access to it and then evade capture. Thankfully, the IoT has produced two crime-busting innovations which stop both steps from happening!

  1. First, there’s virtual car keys, which we discussed in this post. These involve the vehicle being linked up to a smartphone app, removing the need for physical keys, which can be easily misplaced or stolen. A criminal can no longer nick the car by acquiring keys or picking the lock! What’s important to remember, though, is that VCKs need proper cybersecurity solutions, otherwise they could become vulnerable to a different type of criminal – a hacker! There are five principles to adopt when constructing a VCK, which we’ve outlined here.

  1. The IoT has also produced a stolen vehicle recovery system. Many vehicles now come with GPS systems and cellular modems, which track its location. Even if a thief were to steal the car, they’d be unlikely to evade arrest for long. The same technology is even available on smart bikes, such as Vanmoof models – the company even guarantees that they’ll recover your bike (and if not, you’ll get a new one).

Protecting the home and buildings

There are lots of ways IoT innovations protect the home. M2M-enabled alarm systems can be installed anywhere in a building quickly, making a burglar’s life much more difficult. In addition, smart cameras are becoming increasingly common, allowing people to check on their homes via their smartphone while they’re out.

The IoT has also paved the way for smart locks, which provide increased security compared to traditional locking mechanisms. Dessmann’s new smart lock comes with special Machine Identification Modules and Secure Elements, which allow people to open a door with their smartphone. They can also create digital key chains for different locks. Plus, the system alerts users via a notification if a door is forced open.

Helping smart city policing

Imagine if the deadly assassin in Frederick Forsyth’s classic novel, The Day of the Jackal, had been stopped by a streetlight. Not quite the most exciting plot twist, is it? Luckily for us, though, this technology is now a possibility, and could provide a solution to gun crime. ShotSpotter allows the authorities to triangulate gunfire within 10 feet of where it happened and determine how many people are involved, relaying the information to police officers. The IoT-enabled solution can be integrated into streetlights, hopefully helping to make neighborhoods safer.

Machine learning

As well as advances in the IoT, machines are becoming more intelligent, allowing technology to combat crime in innovative ways. For instance, online bank fraud is a huge problem – we’ve discussed it on the blog before. Now, there are solutions like the Assurance Hub which combine big data, artificial intelligence and biometrics to identify suspicious transactions and automatically request additional layers of user verification if necessary. The innovation makes it more difficult for a criminal to gain access to an online bank account.

Before we become complacent about crime, though, we must remember the need to properly secure the IoT ecosystem. While these innovations can stop traditional crime, they may be vulnerable to hackers if they are not properly secured. We recommend a “security by design” approach, which involves embedding new products with protective software and hardware at the initial stage. Patching security flaws isn’t sufficient in a world of constantly evolving cyber threats. You can discover more about IoT security at our dedicated webpage or our eBook.

Are there any other ingenious ways you can think of to foil criminals? Perhaps connected handbags that live stream if they are stolen? Window locks that take a picture of anyone that opens them? Let us know in the comments below!

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