UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy


COVID-19: The Internet of Things and Cybersecurity

23 April 2020

The PETRAS National Centre of Excellence for IoT Systems Cybersecurity (PETRAS) is producing weekly short Landscape Briefings on Covid-19: The Internet of Things and Cybersecurity.

Woman with smartphone and face mask

The briefings aim to summarise developments in this rapidly changing field and to foster discussion and technological advancement within relevant organisations.

The Covid-19 pandemic has inspired a range of Internet of Things (IoT) innovations to help stop the spread of the virus.

Issues 1 (9 April 2020) and Issue 2 (21 April 2020) look at the debate around centralised and decentralised solutions to contact tracing apps being developed by governments in the UK and EU. A key to tackling the spread is the identification and quarantine of infected individuals. This process requires accurate, and almost real-time information about the people an infected person has interacted with. Using mobile phones for contact tracing is therefore proving a popular potential strategy for many governments to tackle the outbreak. However, the level of uptake of contact tracing apps is crucial to their success. The uptake will be improved if people feel confident their data will not be misused, re-purposed or shared without their consent. If privacy concerns cause users to avoid these measures then they will not be effective.

Further developments will be summarised weekly, and will be expanded to include IoT innovations in other sectors during Covid-19. The full briefings are available to view on the PETRAS National Centre of Excellence for IoT Systems Cybersecurity website.