Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the hottest technologies in the era of digital transformation, connecting everything to the Internet. It is the core technology behind smart homes, self-driving cars, smart utility meters, and smart cities. But there are nine main security challenges for the future of the internet of things (IoT).
The number of IoT devices is rapidly increasing over the last few years. According to an analyst firm Gartner, there will be more than 26 billion connected devices around the world by 2020, up from just 6 billion in 2016.
While IoT devices bring effective communication between devices, automate things, save time and cost and have numerous benefits, there is one thing still concerning the users—iot security. There have been specific incidents which have made the IoT devices challenging to trust.
Several smart TVs and cash machines have been hacked, which is negatively impacting the trust of not only consumers but also enterprises. Having said that, let’s have a deep dive into the most critical security challenges for the future of the Internet of Things (IoT).
1. Outdated hardware and software.
Since the IoT devices are being used increasingly, the manufacturers of these devices are focusing on building new ones and not paying enough attention to security.
A majority of these devices don’t get enough updates, whereas some of them never get a single one. What this means is that these products are secure at the time of purchase but becomes vulnerable to attacks when the hackers find some bugs or security issues.
When these issues are not fixed by releasing regular updates for hardware and software, the devices remain vulnerable to attacks. For every little thing connected to the Internet, the regular updates are a must-have. Not having updates can lead to data breach of not only customers but also of the companies that manufacture them.
2. Use of weak and default credentials.
Many IoT companies are selling devices and providing consumers default credentials with them — like an admin username. Hackers need just the username and password to attack the device. When they know the username, they carry out brute-force attacks to infect the devices.
The Mirai botnet attack is an example that was carried out because the devices were using default credentials. Consumers should be changing the default credentials as soon as they get the device, but most of the manufacturers don’t say anything in the instruction guides about making that change. Not making an update in the instruction guides leaves all of the devices open to attack.
3. Malware and ransomware.
The rapid rise in the development of IoT products will make cyberattack permutations unpredictable. Cybercriminals have become advanced today — and they lock out the consumers from using their own device.
For example, an IoT-enabled camera that captures confidential information from home or the work office — and the system is hacked. The attackers will encrypt the webcam system and not allow consumers to access any information. Since the system contains personal data, they can ask consumers to pay a hefty amount to recover their data. When this occurs, it’s called ransomware.
4. Predicting and preventing attacks.
Cybercriminals are proactively finding out new techniques for security threats. In such a scenario, there is a need for not only finding the vulnerabilities and fixing them as they occur but also learning to predict and prevent new threats.
The challenge of security seems to be a long-term challenge for the security of connected devices. Modern cloud services make use of threat intelligence for predicting security issues. Other such techniques include AI-powered monitoring and analytics tools. However, it is complex to adapt these techniques in IoT because the connected devices need processing of data instantly.
5. Difficult to find if a device is affected.
Although it is not really possible to guarantee 100% security from security threats and breaches, the thing with IoT devices is that most of the users don’t get to know if their device is hacked.
When there is a large scale of IoT devices, it becomes difficult to monitor all of them even for the service providers. It is because an IoT device needs apps, services, and protocols for communication. Since the number of devices is increasing significantly, the number of things to be managed is increasing even more.
Hence, many devices keep on operating without the users knowing that they have been hacked.
6. Data protection and security challenges.
In this interconnected world, the protection of data has become really difficult because it gets transferred between multiple devices within a few seconds. One moment, it is stored in mobile, the next minute it is on the web, and then the cloud.
All this data is transferred or transmitted over the internet, which can lead to data leak. Not all the devices through which data is being transmitted or received are secure. Once the data gets leaked, hackers can sell it to other companies that violate the rights for data privacy and security.
Furthermore, even if the data doesn’t get leaked from the consumer side, the service providers might not be compliant with regulations and laws. This can also lead to security incidents.
7. Use of autonomous systems for data management.
From data collection and networking point-of-view, the amount of data generated from connected devices will be too high to handle.
It will undoubtedly need the use of AI tools and automation. IoT admins and network experts will have to set new rules so that traffic patterns can be detected easily.
However, use of such tools will be a little risky because even a slightest of mistakes while configuring can cause an outage. This is critical for large enterprises in healthcare, financial services, power, and transportation industries.
8. Home security.
Today, more and more homes and offices are getting smart with IoT connectivity. The big builders and developers are powering the apartments and the entire building with IoT devices. While home automation is a good thing, but not everyone is aware of the best practices that should be taken care of for IoT security.
Even if the IP addresses get exposed, this can lead to exposure of residential address and other contact details of the consumer. Attackers or interested parties can use this information for evil purposes. This leaves smart homes at potential risk.
9. Security of autonomous vehicles.
Just like homes, the self-driving vehicles or the ones that make use of IoT services, are also at risk. Smart vehicles can be hijacked by skilled hackers from remote locations. Once they get access, they can control the car, which can be very risky for passengers.
Undoubtedly, IoT is a technology that should be called a boon. But since it connects all the things to the Internet, the things become vulnerable to some sort of security threats. Big companies and cybersecurity researchers are giving their best to make things perfect for the consumers, but there is still a lot to be done.
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