A decade ago IoT or Internet of Things was an alien concept (here, we are talking about the pre-social media era).
There were slight murmurs in the technological world that something called IoT is heading our way shortly, and it is going to change the way we live, and interact with technology.Is your IoT Device Secured? 5 Questions You Should Be Asking Yourself Today Click To Tweet
Today, more than a decade later, we see that the prophecy of IoT, being this giant phenomenon coming true. So what exactly is IoT?
IoT or Internet of Things is the interconnected network of devices with sensors that transmit data packets to the cloud. The IoT definition applies to the phone/ tablet or the laptop in which you probably are reading this article. As a matter of fact, the navigating systems in cars are also a part of IoT.
IoT- ‘The Numbers Story’
The growth of IoT is not just all hearsay and abstract, we do have numbers, which gives a clear sense of past-present-future of IoT. According to some renowned firms in the concerned industry, over the past few years, the total number of IoT connections have become roughly around 13 billion worldwide. Below, is the table of IoT growth valued in 2014 and the projection for ‘2020 and 2025’.
US$1.7 trillion (upper limit)
US$11.1 trillion (upper limit)
Now, let the numbers just sink in for a while. There is another factor that also somehow ruins the reputation of IoT. In this article, we have covered you for that portion.
It is quite obvious that the nature and the quantum of security challenges vary for each setting. But we have listed five of the common security challenges regarding IoT devices.
- Lack of updates and testing mechanism for the new and existing connections.
- The classic case of ransomware and malware.
- Data breach and other problems in data handling.
- Automation in the exclusive fields owing to large packets of data.
Thus, by now, you might have come to terms with the fact that as much as IoT makes life easier, there are always some serious security challenges that need the utmost attention. So, here are five questions that you need to be asking yourself regarding IoT security.
Nature of Authentication
In the case of IoT, there are plenty of devices connected to a single cloud. So, naturally, entry to the source information for the ‘things’ are done through authentication. Now, the reason you need to check into, whether the nature of authentication comes with a wrong choice of authentication or not and whether it can put your classified data at risk. For instance, the password-based authentication system is more vulnerable to middleman attacks as they are easily manipulated.
There are various sources online which provide the ‘how-to’ for breaking into a password authentication setup. Some of the devices have a default password attached which is easily accessible.
The certificate-based authentication system covers up all the flaws of a traditional password form. As such, authentication of accessing information is only possible through a digital certificate, which is issued on request from a certificate authority. It contains the electronic password along with relevant information like the purpose of the issue.
How secure is my device’s identity?
This is one of the first questions that you ask yourself before signing up for ‘IoT’. As you register to a new website or enrol in a new web-related service, your identity is protected by something called MFA.
MFA abbreviated as Multi-Factor Authentication, which is your saviour when it comes to foreign invasion. So, for instance, any sensitive information, say the password gets leaked or such event, you need not worry.
Now, if an imposter tries to get into your account, due to layering authentication he simply cannot. The layers to authentication would require more than just a password to grant access. The most common secondary information required for access is the six-digit pin code.
On a side note, you must also look for the fingerprint security authentication, so even if your phone or laptop is lost the information it would be recovered without worries.
How sophisticated is my security mechanism?
Forging your identity and consuming your information at the surface seems to be a work of an impersonator. But test your security mechanism for not just impersonators, the reason being, with the adoption of IoT, you just cannot rule out the threat of a breach. When it comes to hacking, with the explosion of technology, there is more than just one way of working around password encryption.
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Ransomware, Malware, and DDoS are some of how you could lose all the data stored in the cloud. Here we will be speaking of DDoS, for those readers who are new to the term. DDoS or Distributed Denial of Services is the way by which websites are rendered inactive and if you are registered to the concerned website, you cannot access your account. Off late, websites like Twitter and Spotify have been inflicted with DDoS.
Now, ensuring that your device connection has more just one layer of security becomes necessary. Just the presence of certificate-based authentication won’t cut a deal, you need deeper security networks like a firewall or secure boot mechanism.
Interaction with the IoT device- the ‘Who part’
When it comes to interacting with IoT devices it is not the human aspect which we are talking about here. Machines do sync and store information which is then stored in the cloud. It is the interaction of humans with the device that is something that you should be worried about. Every speech command and in some cases, the keystroke gets automatically saved. But we are more concerned about the data gained by speech recognition through sensors in your device, which can be sensitive and they are used most cleverly by the business houses.
Do you really need the IoT?
This question may not be directly related to security. But at the end of the day, it has some indirect implications. So, just stop for a moment and ask yourself do you really need the IoT or there can be other alternatives solutions. Do you have the technical expertise and the financial muscle to cope with the regular updates? If the answer is no, then you must reconsider your idea. Half baked knowledge and ideas might trick you into adopting IoT, but in such cases, the security takes a hit beyond repair.
To cut the long story short, security demands due to diligence, you need to be ready for all kinds of threats. This can be only done if the search for the right security question that needs to be addressed. The purpose of technology is to make life better, it is no way intended to keep you in the terror of the next cyber attack. As the growth of IoT goes, we would very soon require new standards and benchmarks to have a sane assessment.
IoT devices include wireless sensors, software, actuators, and computer devices. They are attached to a particular object that operates through the internet, enabling the transfer of data among objects or people automatically without human intervention.
An IoT device is a piece of hardware with a sensor that transmits data from one place to another over the Internet. Types of IoT devices include wireless sensors, software, actuators, and computer devices. They can be imbedded into mobile devices, industrial equipment, environmental sensors, medical devices, and more.
Consumer connected devices include smart TVs, smart speakers, toys, wearables and smart appliances. Smart meters, commercial security systems and smart city technologies.