The Internet of Things continues to connect an ever-increasing number of devices. We're heading towards a seamlessly connected world that will have 24 billion IoT devices by 2020. Connected devices are making headway into each and every aspect of our lives, including homes, offices, cars and even cities.
In stark contrast to human-controlled devices, IoT devices are always connected and functioning. IoT devices go through one-time authentication which makes them vulnerable to infiltration and nefarious attacks, with each type vulnerable to different kinds. The devices themselves have different levels of security, with some having no security at all. Hence, strong security mechanisms need to be implemented on these gateways to improve overall security of the system.
What opportunities does IoT offer?
IoT is fast becoming the core element of business technology. Some primary forces driven by the adoption of IoT are:
Creation of Business Opportunities: The connected world of devices, people and data helps create numerous business opportunities for many sectors. Organizations leverage IoT to gain insights into customers’ requirements.
Business Revenue Growth: There is a multitude of opportunities that enhance business growth and economic opportunity by finding creative ways to deploy IoT technology to drive revenue growth through expense reduction and asset productivity.
Strategic Decision-Making: Real-time updates offer resources to improve decision making and make fact finding more accurate.
Reduction in costs of Components: Costs of IoT components have significantly gone down, which effectively means that the cost of IoT-linked devices is getting more affordable day by day.
Safety and Security: With the help of cameras, smart locks and sensors, it is easier to avoid physical threats, at workplaces or homes.
Needless to say, there are still many challenges faced in IoT Security, the primary being protecting more and more devices.
Internet of Things ecosystem is growing at a rapid pace. Research has indicated that several IoT device manufacturers and service providers don’t implement common security measures. As a result, an IoT device which was safe when you bought can become a target for nefarious activities as hackers discover new vulnerabilities.
Information overload is increasing the number of devices behind network’s firewall. Now it is not just about protecting our computers, laptops or smartphones. It is also about protecting our cars, our home appliances, wearables, and several IoT devices. Ultimately, IoT is turning into a complex maze.
In a frenzy to launch new products and services, many companies often overlook long-term support. As a result, we always end up with millions of unsecured computers and mobile devices. Some devices are too old for most companies and the situation is bound to become even worse with disposable IoT devices.
Here are a few ways to improve IoT Security:
IoT Network Security
IoT network security is a daunting task compared to traditional network security. There are several communication protocols, standards, and device functionalities which when combined together pose signiﬁcant issues and complexity.
Allowing users to authenticate IoT device right from managing multiple users of a single device, ranging from simple static password/pins to authentication mechanisms.
IoT will continue to provide omnipresence experience in smart, connected devices. It is practically impossible to assess the credibility of each and every device that might originate from or be stored on firewall networks. In such cases, the only solution is to ensure that data is encrypted. This effectively means only users with authentication credentials or a pre-verified device will be able to access encrypted data.
IoT Security Analytics
IoT security analytics is all about collecting and assimilating data from IoT devices and providing an alert system on speciﬁc activities or when activities fall outside the realms of set policies and procedures. These solutions add a new perspective of machine learning, artiﬁcial intelligence, and big data techniques to provide a rather rigorous predictive modelling and anomaly detection. However, these capabilities are still gaining momentum. IoT security analytics allow detection of IoT-speciﬁc intrusions that are not identiﬁed by conventional network security solutions.
IoT API Security
Providing the ability to authenticate and authorize data movement between IoT devices, back-end systems, and applications using documented REST-based APIs. API security protects the data transiting to ensure that only authentic devices, developers, and apps are communicating with APIs as well as detecting nefarious threats against APIs.
User access controls
Build in mandatory or role-based access controls and password policies to limit user access to device components and applications, ensuring they only access the resources needed to do their jobs. If any component is compromised, access control ensures the intruder has as minimal access to other parts of the system as possible.
Device lifecycle management
Implement procedures that enable devices to get timely security patches and updates to firmware and software.
Conclusion: IoT is becoming a significant part of our lives, and its security is one of the major issues that must be addressed with the effective participation of the entire global tech community.
Research by Hussain Pattan