The internet of things (IoT) is the vast network of connected physical objects (i.e., things) that exchange data with other devices and systems via the internet. IoT refers to the smart devices commonly used to describe a highly-distributed network that combines connectivity with sensors and lightweight applications, which are embedded into tools and devices. These are used to exchange data with other devices, applications, and systems for everything from smart plugs and power grids to connected cars and medical devices. IoT has become one of the most ubiquitous connected technologies with billions of instances around the world. IoT bridges the digital and physical worlds with seamless, streaming communications for everyday consumer products and complex industrial systems.
What is IoT Security
IoT security is a term that covers the strategies, tools, processes, systems, and methods used to protect all aspects of the internet of things. Included in IoT security is the protection of the physical components, applications, data, and network connections to ensure the availability, integrity, and confidentiality of IoT ecosystems. Robust IoT security includes all facets of protection, including hardening components, monitoring, keeping firmware updated, access management, threat response, and remediation of vulnerabilities. IoT security is critical as these systems are sprawling and vulnerable, making them a highly-targeted attack vector. Securing IoT devices from unauthorized access ensures that they do not become a gateway into other parts of the network or leak sensitive information. IoT security vulnerabilities are found in everything from vehicles to smart watches and smart home devices. For example, experts found that hackers could be easily gain access to networks and smartwatches containing security vulnerabilities that allowed hackers to track the user’s location and other confidential data.
Major IoT Security Challenges & Problems
Hijacking Of IoT Devices And Ransomware
Internet of Things devices that have weak security measures can become a target of ransomware, a malware that encrypts and blocks access to user’s sensitive files. The real trouble begins when a hacker that infected the device with malware demands ransom money if a victim wants to see their files unlocked. This security threat could put wearable technology, healthcare trackers and smart homes in great risk. It’s a distressing thought to think of a house that is locked down or a smart vehicle that doesn’t start until the ransom is paid. Ransomware attacks could not only lock users out of IoT devices but disable devices altogether and steal user’s data.
Insufficient Testing And Lack Of Updates
One of the security issues with IoT devices is that companies producing them are often too careless when it comes to proper testing and providing timely software updates. This is a big problem because consumers tend to believe manufacturers and their judgment and are often convinced that they have taken all the measures to provide safety failures. But, due to the fast-paced growth of Internet of Things market, a lot of manufacturers are in a hurry to create and release their products without giving testing much thought. Sometimes, the only updates on offer are for shorter time periods. As a result, your IoT device with outdated software may be exposed to countless malware and hacker attacks and other breaches of security.
Possibly the most distressing scenario of IoT security issues are the home intrusions or home invasions because they blur the line between the virtual and physical world and place users in a very real tangible danger. This home automation comes with a big threat in that unsafe devices, with poor defense mechanisms, could broadcast IP addresses. The so-called Shodan searches may make it possible for hackers to locate the address of the device user. The possibilities of this abuse are apparent and can even go so far as the user’s address reaching criminal circles. The way to prevent this IoT security breach from happening is by connecting through VPNs and securing your login credentials – which we will discuss later in the article.
IoT-Driven Financial Crime
Electronic payment companies that deploy Internet of Things may expect a surge in financial crime and synthetic identity fraud coming. Some of these companies experiment with machine learning & AI together while many of them will soon need to recognize the importance of integrating information on different business levels. This is to ensure the timely detection of fraud patterns and its complex signals using deep learning. All financial companies will face the challenge of launching these new models because they experience compliance and operational issues.
Remote Smart Vehicle Access
An IoT security challenge that is close to home invasion is the hijack of so-called smart vehicles, which are more and more an inevitability on roads thanks to the implementation of Internet of Things in cars. Vulnerable IoT devices can pave the way for great risks such as remote hijack of your smart car’s access. This can compromise their autonomous capabilities such as self-driving and detection of other vehicles. These malicious intrusions are, obviously, a huge threat to public safety as they can cause accidents. Also, remote vehicle access can be a subject to ransomware, as a hacker may demand a fee for unlocking the car or enabling its engine. Besides IoT device manufacturers that are working on solving this security breach issue, car manufacturers are also paying attention to it.
Lack Of IoT Security Awareness
Because Internet of Things is such new technology, its users are still getting used to its quirks and traits. People have largely mastered their own security in domains of phishing, virus and malware attacks on their computers and internet scams. They have learned how to secure their WiFi networks and how to protect their credit cards online. This user ignorance and lack of awareness is possibly the biggest Internet of Things security concern because it can put everyone at risk: the users themselves as well as those that are connected in one way or another with their own IoT units.
The question of IoT security issues is very complex. Potential integrity breaches can come from several, mutually exclusive sources. And because this technology is practically still in its infancy, both users and manufacturers are still searching for the right solutions.