15 Biggest Iot Security Challenges That We Should Find A Solution To Immediately

By Kuldeep Rawat
on April 7, 2020
K

With more companies embracing the varied uses that IoT technology brings, it comes with its own set of problems that need to be addressed if we are to extend its capabilities from what it is today.

International Data Corporation says that worldwide spending on IoT will reach $726 billion in 2019. The number is expected to cross the $1 trillion mark in 2022.

What is IoT?

IoT is an ecosystem where physical objects are interconnected through the power of the Internet. It could be anything, a pacemaker, wristwatch, a chair or even your arm strapped to an IoT device with sensors. The inbuilt sensors transmit data, using which a lot of business decisions take place.
IoT platforms help companies reduce costs thanks to improved efficiency, space utilization, and productivity. With real-time analytics, it has the ability to change the way businesses function.

Does IoT pose a security challenge?

Like most good things, IoT poses a few security challenges as well. The reason for these challenges is because there has been an unprecedented entry of IoT devices in the market, there is no control on where it can be deployed and the sanctity of the devices used is a question mark too. Let’s discuss some of the security challenges that IoT poses

1. Managing Device Updates

The firmware/software that runs on IoT needs to be updated and checked for security patches. Not all devices can be updated over-the-air. It needs to be physically accessed to apply updates. As a part of device management, you need to keep track of the versions deployed on each device. If possible, use devices that push update automatically to devices.

2. Secure Communication

Ensuring that the communication between devices and the apps/cloud services is secure is a big challenge in the IoT sector. The communication will be secure if the information transmitted is secure but many of them don’t do it. It is advised to use separate networks so that the data transferred remains secure. Adopting standards like TLS and using transport encryption increases security communication by a huge margin.

3. Ensuring data privacy and integrity

The data, once transferred, is also supposed to be stored and processed securely. Ensuring that sensitive data is taken off or hidden before it is stored so that there is no identifiable information of any individual is paramount. While transferring, any data that might not be necessary should be immediately deleted. Maintain legal and regulatory compliance so that you do not end up facing unnecessary problems.

4. No common framework

Since most of the things surrounding IoT is unregulated, there is no framework set for the manufacturers to follow. The onus is on them to ensure security and maintain the privacy of the data. Only when there is a framework implemented for it will there be a common set of standards which everyone will follow so that IoT can expand further and the code can be reused again.

5. Storage issues

Data storage is always a threat when your data is on the Internet which anyone can hack and gain access. Hackers use tools to gain entry into secure locations. You should be proactive to make sure that there is no way using which outside access is possible. Two-step authentication is one of the steps that you can use to thwart external threats.

6. Unreliable threat detection

There are a lot of ways in which you find out threats, it might involve identifying unusual aberrations, monitoring user activity, and using a host of other security protocols. There is no standard using which IoT devices are made and there are too many devices floating around, it becomes impossible to keep a leash on threats from outside. There needs to be an evolved method using which the threats in IoT devices should be found out.

7. Malware and Ransom

With the proliferation of IoT devices, the number of malware and ransom attacks have increased too. In IoT devices, the kind of attack that happens is that it limits the ability of the device, disables access to the device or steals user data. This will give rise to a lot of attacks in the future because there is not much you can do when the device is not in your vicinity.

8. AI and Automation

There will soon come a time when there will be millions of IoT devices. From the perspective of collecting, storing and securing the data, it will be extremely difficult to do all of these thanks to the huge amount of data. This means that AI has to be a part of the process to go through large amounts of data. In industries such as healthcare, power, transportation, and manufacturing, a rogue script in the algorithm can completely destroy the entire system.

9. High availability

The number of uses of IoT in our day-to-day lives is only going to increase in the impending future. It means that many web and mobile apps will rely on data. When there is so much dependence on IoT devices, a single denial of service attack, connectivity outages or power failure can cause a lot of harm.

10. Predicting security issues

As technologists, it is our duty to not only face threats head-on by reducing the effect of attacks, but we should be proactive enough to predict threats so that it doesn’t derail the system. Use monitoring and analytics tools, including artificial intelligence algorithms to find out possibilities of attacks and use security strategies that will shut down any threat even before it arrives.

11. Weak Passwords

The devices that are usually connected with IoT devices are usually ones that have default passwords like “123456” or something equally flimsy. While this might look like something silly, there is a lot riding on the password because not taking care of this basic step can completely destroy your project if a third-party gains access to it.

12. Invading your devices

It is not a big problem if the IoT device we are referring to is a wearable tracker. But what if it is your home or your car? There are a lot of homes that use IoT these days. The security associated with it might not still be foolproof, since finding your IP address means getting to track your home. What if someone hijacks your car? That’s scary.

13. Lack of device authentication

While there are a lot of authentication features for IoT devices, they are not followed among everyone since there is no standard that takes care of authenticating it. Some of the factors that are used to authenticate the device are as follows: digital certificates, two-factor authentication, and biometrics. If you are not using an authenticated device, you are much more prone to attacks from outside.

14. Legacy Security

Many IoT devices lack even the basic cybersecurity provisions, which leaves the interconnected devices vulnerable. Everything could be hacked and it can lead to serious implications that will derail everyday life. We should not wait for such events to take place to set security standards in place. Now is the time because the world will soon open itself to more IoT devices.

15. Finance-related attacks

There are enterprises that use IoT devices for electronic payments and it is a dormant volcano because things can go completely haywire. Hackers are abounded and can steal your customer’s money. Using blockchain might be one of the solutions to stop such attacks if you are using IoT devices in the field of finance. Presently, not a lot of companies have the wherewithal to try this out.

Conclusion

Having a multi-pronged approach to the development of IoT is essential to manage, secure and store data for mobile and cloud-based IoT apps. If we can take care of the challenges it poses, the effect that IoT will have on the world and the way we live is phenomenal. Data theft and hacker attacks are easily two of the biggest threats in the IoT field. If we cannot find a solution for all the threats that we discussed here, it will be a dangerous thing to execute IoT everywhere. The repercussions can be deadly, especially in sectors that are sensitive, like health, finance, and power. There has to be a central governing framework that should work towards finding practical solutions for the problems associated with going full-fledged in IoT.