Critical infrastructure systems the assets and networks, be they physical or virtual, underpinning the functioning of an economy and society determine the security, prosperity, well-being and resilience of an entire nation. In this regard, the Internet of Things (IoT) is an important concept embedded within a larger spectrum of networked products and digital sensors that has caused an explosion of applications, marking a fundamental shift in the way human beings interact with the Internet, and amplifying both opportunities and challenges — in particular with respect to critical infrastructure — across the globe. The paper creates a framework to navigate the dialogue surrounding critical infrastructure and the IoT, addressing the emerging risks to critical infrastructure with the rise of the IoT, and toward explaining cyber threats to business and governments in the face of an expanding IoT. Presenting an overview of the basics of IoT and the technical processes and issues raised by it, and through landmark examples and references, a set of recommendations to overcome these risks are presented to create an informational resource regarding this growing pertinent conversation in light of competing information and forecasts.

The Global Commission on Internet Governance was established in January 2014 to articulate and advance a strategic vision for the future of Internet governance. The two-year project conducts and supports independent research on Internet-related dimensions of global public policy, culminating in an official commission report that will articulate concrete policy recommendations for the future of Internet governance.