As more enterprises are aiming for a comprehensive Digital Transformation, the demand for more connectivity and acceptance of IoT are only matched by the increase in cybercriminals – both masterminds as well as the buyers of crime-as-a service that are primarily focused on using IoT gadgets, and the ultimate goal of attacking the entire company. IoT devices can be hacked to leak data, disrupt operations, stop service, or even infiltrate an organization’s IT network.

The ever-growing number of devices – currently, the numbers vary between 27.5 billion gadgets to 75 billion in just few years implies that secure communication and the implementation of IoT security tools is essential.

A recent study revealed there is an average of 61 percent companies employ IoT to improve their operations. In the same period that 28 percent of businesses suffered a cyber attack because of the use of IoT infrastructure, as the risk for IoT devices increased by three times compared to the same time period prior to the year.

The information and findings are result of extensive research conducted in collaboration with Infiniti Research, a premier supplier of market intelligence solutions to the top players in all sectors.

Since IoT devices as well as networks and their uses are in constant change companies must stay on top of changes within the IoT ecosystem to benefit from the benefits of operations and costs ahead of their competitors.

Cyber security is a key element to enable IoT deployment. It can also be, in many instances it is a barrier for large-scale remote operations if it is not thought of at the level of design. Both the hardware as well as the software should be secured.

For other networks in IT, as well as other devices connected to them like laptops, servers mobile phones, and so on security is usually an afterthought that is added to fill in security gaps when you’re on the move.

But the ease of IoT devices in terms hardware and software, and the potential for large-scale data sharing among different applications and systems, can be a benefit which could cause the downfall of an organization.

We’ll look at the various factors which make IoT device security an important issue and drives the urgency to address it.

  • The increasing dependency increasing dependence on IoT devices The increasing dependence on IoT devicesGrowing dependence of IoT devices is the result of their efficacy and user-friendliness, as well as their automation capabilities and savings in time and money. Moreover, the IoT world opens new business models for organizations, monetizing on data-as-a-service, product-as-a-service, and process-as-a-service.These new business models lean on digital transformation that has resulted in the need for increased connectivity and technologies – such as 5G, AI, and machine learning – and the increased adoption of IoT especially in communications, finance, hospitality, and healthcare.Furthermore, the global telecom industry depends on IoT adoption to monetize 4G and accelerate 5G adoption to realize business goals, while the automotive sector relies on IoT to advance connected vehicles operation and capabilities.
  • The increasing frequency of data breaches. The proliferation of devices that are connected has led to a security vulnerability where hackers can attack zero-day vulnerabilities to damage devices such as webcams routers, smart TVs smart homes, printers and more. The effects of such attacks range from inconvenience to everyday privacy to devastating shutdowns. That’s not even considering damage to brand reputation as well as legal liability issues and the possibility of regulatory fines.Remember the lawsuit in December of 2019 brought against home security product provider Ring for reports of numerous hacking attacks on their security cameras? The good news is that this incident raised awareness about IoT security of devices and an increased demand for more efficient protection software.A 2020 Thales Data Threat report indicated the following most important IoT security issues:
  • Security breaches resulting from IoT device-generated data – 26 percent
  • Cyberattacks against IoT devices could affect critical operations – 33 percent
  • In the event of theft or loss of IoT devices – 27 percent
  • Insufficient updates for products offered by manufacturers Lack of updates for their products by manufacturers. To speed up the time to market, companies are investing less time in testing their devices and protecting them. Insufficient IoT industry standards also means that manufacturers have to build programming protocols on their host ecosystems, thereby preventing the ability to sync across platforms, restricting the ability of developers to develop an universal security protocol and providing hackers with different platforms on where they can attack devices and take information.
  • Inbuilt security vulnerabilities present in IoT Security of devices The security of IoT devices IoT vulnerabilities are extensive and broad due to passwords that are hardcoded or default and the absence of manufacturer updates. Additionally, the wide range of transmission methods makes following the standard protocols difficult, which results in networks that are not secure, with IoT devices that remain vulnerable and insecure.

There’s increased the amount of attacks against blockchain-based applications in which social engineering is used to steal passwords and usernames.

While certain IoT security firms for devices are making steps to recognize threats and correlate these with security solutions for endpoints to limit security risks, they are unable to provide the complete protection against hackers because the technology needs regular testing patches, testing, and updates.

Market Trends Pointing to An Optimistic Future

IoT security issues are being tackled by various strategies and techniques.

  • The development of blockchain is a sign of the times. This distributed, decentralized ledger technology allows direct sharing of information between devices connected to it. It is able to monitor the information gathered by sensors, without creating duplicates and allows sensors to share information, eliminating the requirement for a reliable third party.For example, IBM introduced a new supply chain service built upon its Blockchain platform which allows developers to integrate data into the distributed ledger by means via an API. This lets end users securely join the data of IoT sensors onto the hyperledger.
  • A rise in the use of AI to enhance IoT security IoT securityAI can help protect assets, decrease fraud, aid in analytics and facilitate automated decision-making for IoT applications. Machine learning can be utilized to analyze outgoing and incoming traffic on IoT devices to build an identity profile that can determine the usual behaviour of an IoT ecosystem, assisting in identifying risks through abnormal behaviour patterns.Moreover making use of AI to gather information from smart homes, websites, web cameras and various other IoT devices can ensure data security and enhance privacy, decreasing the likelihood of cyberattacks.For example, businesses are employing AI to identify employee access patterns, gain insight into the future layout of offices and identify suspicious activity. Companies in the defense and aerospace industries are using IoT, AI, and cloud infrastructure to detect DoS as well as DDoS attacks.
  • Implementing a network-based approach to IoT security. IoT security is essential to every aspect of corporate as well as personal safety. However, because of the sheer number of devices and the wide range of companies that may be in the same space it is nearly impossible to guarantee the highest security for each. So, making sure everything is secured on the network level guarantees that no threats have the chance to penetrate the devices. Additionally, if companies employ virtual SIMs they are able to be upgraded by utilizing security apps directly from the network without any effort.

There are a myriad of solutions to address the security gaps on the horizon of IoT deployments. Since the market is poised for explosive growth and we are likely to see a growing number of companies that offer solutions to IoT cybersecurity at the level of software, hardware and the network level.

Already, we are seeing cybersecurity firms expanding their offerings to meet the unique requirements of IoT and also the top software and device manufacturers making a stand on security and planning to integrate it into their offerings.

The national laws and regulations that were recently enacted by Australia and the United States and Australia define fundamental guidelines however they do not provide organisations the tools they require to fully safeguard themselves.

Furthermore, in many instances, vendors are playing the game of cat and mouse with threat actors, only covering the entry point for one, but leaving other entry points vulnerable. Companies that take an approach that is security-focused, network-based for their network and IoT deployments benefit from the advantages of scalability, flexibility , and being able to work with any device, thus improving their security in the ever-changing threat landscape.

The best approach to security can ensure IoT devices provide security to all of us – – except for the threat actors.

By Manali