Internet of Things is now the hottest and trending technologies in the age of digital transformation, connecting everything to the internet world. It is the fundamental technology behind smart homes, smart cities, smart utility meters, and self-driving cars. It has completely altered our lives as we are now able to interact with other people wherever and whenever we want.
IoT has become increasingly arisen in our everyday lives. The number of IoT devices is continuously increasing over the previous years. Recent statistics show that by 2020, more than 25 billion IoT devices will be active and connected to the internet. Also, by 2025 there will be 75 billion IoT devices globally. All these stats further signifies the worth of IoT.
IoT devices are a primary source of effective communication among devices, automate things, save time, and are cost-effective too. Similarly, it offers numerous benefits, but at the same time, one thing which makes users worry is its security. There have been multiple incidents in the previous years which have made IoT devices vulnerable and hard to trust.
Numerous cash machines and smart TVs have been compromised and are negatively impacting the trust of both enterprises and users. Let’s get more in-depth on this topic and discuss some severe security issues concerning the Internet of things and how to avoid them.
Security Challenges Associated With IoT
The fundamental drawback of having all the IoT systems connected to the internet is the risk of cybercrimes. We are on the verge of cyber-attacks when our devices are connected everywhere on the internet. Hacking in your smart toaster, for instance, can lead to finding a network node. The node can then lead to the leakage of sensitive and personal information. The following are the most prevalent security issues linked to the future of IoT.
1. Use of Default and Weak Credentials
Several IoT enterprises are selling devices and providing customers with default credentials such as admin username. The attackers require the username and password to launch an attack. When they get to know the username, they launch brute-force attacks to infect the devices.
The Mirai botnet attack is one such example that was conducted because the devices were using default credentials. Users should change the default credentials when they get the device, however, most of the manufacturers don’t say anything in the guidelines regarding making that change. Not making an update is the instructions that leave all devices open to specific attacks.
2. Malware and Ransomware
The rise in the development of IoT products results in cyber-attacks. Cybercriminals are now much advanced and clever, and they can even lockout users from using their devices.
For example, an IoT-enabled camera that captures sensitive information either from home or office, resulting in the system being hacked. The hackers will encrypt the webcam system and won’t allow customers to access any information. As the system contains some personal data, they can ask the users to pay a handsome amount of money to recover the data. This is called a ransomware attack which is among the type of cybercrimes. Malware attack occurs when a hacker leaves a malicious link into the device which later infects the device.
3. Predicting and Preventing Attacks
The cyber-criminals are actively finding new methods and tactics for spreading security threats. In this situation, there is a need for not just detecting the vulnerabilities and fixing them but also learn how to predict and prevent upcoming threats.
The security issue seems to be a long-term challenge for the security of connected devices. The current cloud services make use of threat intelligence for predicting security issues. Some other techniques involve AI-powered analytics and monitoring tools. But, it is complex to adopt such technologies in the IoT scenario because the connected devices need processing of data continuously.
4. Unable to Find If a Device Is Affected
Though it is not entirely possible to guarantee 100% security from breaches and security threats, most of the IoT device users don’t know if their devices are hacked or not. It means they don’t know how to detect the symptoms of the device getting hacked.
Since the IoT devices are present in significant numbers, it becomes a bit challenging and tough to observe all of them even for the service providers. It is because an IoT device requires apps, protocols, and services for communication. With the ever-increasing number of IoT devices, the number of things that need to be managed is also increasing. Therefore, several devices keep on operating without the users knowing that they’ve been attacked.
5. Data Protection and Security Problems
In this interrelated world, the protection of data has become extremely difficult because it gets transferred among multiple devices within a fraction of seconds. At one time, it is stored in mobile, and the very next minute it is on the web, and later on the cloud.
The entire data is transferred over the internet that can lead to data leak. Not all the devices by which data is being transmitted or received are safe and secure. Once data gets leaked, hackers got a golden chance to sell it to other companies that infringe on the fundamental rights for data security and privacy.
Moreover, if the data doesn’t get leaked from the user side, the service providers might not be compliant with the laws. It will ultimately lead to security incidents.
6. Use of Free System for Data Management
If we look from data collection and networking point-of-view, the amount of data being generated from the connected devices is too high to handle. It will need the use of automation and AI tools. The IoT admins and network experts need to set some new rules and regulations so that the traffic patterns can easily be detected.
However, the use of such tools is a bit risky because even the slightest mistake during configuring can result in an outage.
How to Improve IoT Security?
Almost everything is connected in the IoT-applications, devices, modems, and sensors talk to each other and share data.
All these connections can give the business a dynamic, real-time picture of their operations and opportunities. But all these connections also add to their vulnerability. The points mentioned above have given you a clear idea of how vulnerable IoT can be. To prevent the security challenges, consider the steps mentioned below:
- Assess the IoT device security traits. Make sure that every connected device meets specific security requirements.
- Automate security whenever possible. The IoT deployments are increasing the need for increased automation in data monitoring, threat detection, along with other facets of security.
- Do consider the entire IoT environment. Examine and analyze the security capabilities and responsibilities of your IoT product and services. Create clear lines of accountability and, in some worst scenarios the liability.
- Embrace a risk-driven approach. Understand the risk matrix of your devices and then apply appropriate security controls to the level of risks being involved.
- Look outside the IoT device security. With several levels and types of communication networks within different IoT solutions, look beyond the device for any possible security risks, involving applications that drive all those solutions.
- Emphasize more on user awareness, education, and safety. Generating and storing passwords will become easier and also make individuals less exploitable. Protecting passwords by using robust encryption can surely prevent such vulnerabilities.
- Extend the current security solutions. With the increase in connected endpoints, the IoT based data might strain the capacities of existing systems, and new types of controls might require some unique kinds of IoT risks.
Without any doubt, IoT is a technology that must be called a boon. However, as it connects all the things to the internet, things become more vulnerable to some kinds of security threats. Big enterprises and cybersecurity experts are giving their best to make things better and perfect for the users, but, still, there is a lot to be done. Hopefully, all the points, as mentioned above, are clear to you and from now, you’ll be securing your IoT devices by every possible means.