By Bill Graham
A typical security discussion is usually about hackers getting into corporate IT systems or viruses on home desktops. Embedded systems have not always been the target for malicious attacks but times have changed. Embedded devices are more sophisticated and interconnected and in many cases connected to the Internet. This interconnection and Internet awareness has great benefits for expanding the ubiquity and usefulness of embedded devices in our lives. For example, a home environment monitoring system could monitor your house air quality with half a dozen wireless sensors that use a lower power local area network to your thermostat. Your thermostat could host a small web server on the Internet that lets you login and monitor and control your household temperature and humidity. Sounds great, right? It won't be that great if someone hacks into your system and turns the thermostat to 90 degrees and turns your house into a sauna! This is a trivial case but you can see how this could extend to a sheet metal press in a factory, elevators and escalators, or a chemical control valve in an oil refinery.