In an IoT ecosystem, you can interconnect multiple devices to the internet and each other to process data and transmit it over a network. But we cannot talk about IoT without worrying about maintaining its security. This is where the concept of IoT security comes into play. IoT security is the practice of keeping your IoT devices and interconnections secure by methods such as consistently updating software, exercising password hygiene, or investing in vulnerability management tools, among others.
In this article, we will explore in detail what IoT security is and what it entails.
What is IoT security?
IoT security is the practice of preventing unwanted third-party access to Internet of Things (IoT) networks and devices. IoT devices in the business context include grid-based smart energy systems, manufacturing machines, and any other personal IoT gadgets such as wireless TVs to accessories such as smartwatches.
How do IoT attacks happen?
Although IoT devices may appear too small to be risky, there is a genuine risk since these devices are network-connected. General-purpose machines on these networks may be hijacked by hackers, resulting in IoT security issues. Even the most basic item (i,e. a smartwatch device) may turn adverse when accessed over the internet. Once attackers obtain data, interrupt service delivery, or commit any other cybercrime that an IT device would commit. Attacks on IoT infrastructure cause damage not just through data breaches and inconsistent operations, but also through physical injury to the facilities.
IoT cybersecurity attacks can threaten:
- Systems—threats to procedures under your supervision, such as internet services, along with threats from external parties, such as customers and TV feeds, which interact with the infrastructure.
- Storage—threats to storage including operating systems (OS) and stored or temporary data queues.
- Communication—threats the communication data flows among equipment, sensors, and outdoor and online gateways.
Protecting staff, customers, machines, and business investments with increased IoT infrastructure security requires an end-to-end approach that employs appropriate IoT technologies and protocols.
To learn hove to prevent your organization and equipment from IoT attacks read our article’s section on how to increase IoT cybersecurity.
What are some IoT security issues?
- Vulnerabilities: One of the main reasons why IoT devices are prone to cyber-attacks is their limited computational capacity for built-in security. This may be a result of their lack of testing, updates, or short development cycle.
- Malware: ~5.6 billion malware attacks have been recorded in 2020. IoT botnet (e.g. network of IoT devices) codebases are a common form of malware that can even infiltrate basic devices like cameras and DVR players.
- DDoS attacks: Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) is attackers getting control of multiple devices to target one server, overwhelming it as a result, and ultimately causing it to crash (see Figure 1). This was the case in 2016 when Dyn, an Internet provider, was attacked by hackers, causing websites such as Reddit, CNN, Netflix, and The Guardian to shut down.
- Data breaches: Connected devices increase the chance of online exposure. This means technical, as well as personal, data stored in those devices can be hijacked. Confidential emails, medical data, sensitive images and videos, bank statements, and legal contracts are among the most common lost information.
- Device mismanagement: Security oversights, poor password hygiene, and overall device mismanagement can assist in the success of cyber attacks.
For more on the Internet of things
- A Deep Dive into IoT Architecture & Top 10 Components
- IoT Cloud: Accessible and Scalable
- IoT-5G For a Fast and Consistent Connectivity
- Top 11 Use Cases of IoT in Retail
Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.
Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.
Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.
He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.
Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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