The Internet of Things (IoT) is dominating headlines, though the stories swing between the benefits of using digitally connected devices and security concerns associated with them. As the Internet grows, the number of connected devices continues to rise every day, and this trend is not slowing down. Gartner predicts that more than 26 billion internet-connected devices will be installed globally by 2020; that is more than 4 devices for every human on earth. This entails an exponential increase in new security threats, as the growing number of IoT devices gives hackers and cyber criminals more entry points.
The main IoT security issue is vulnerability to hacking. Connected devices rely heavily on shared libraries and a rapid development cycle; many of them have limited options for firmware upgrades and other risk management features. The fact that they are “always-online” makes them vulnerable and highly susceptible to attacks.
Today, connected devices are being hacked for multiple reasons, some to hurt the end user while others are intended to be used as an attack force against others. Hackers with malicious intents can use the motion sensors embedded in wearables to steal information you’re typing, or they can gather health data from smartwatch apps or health tracker devices you might be using. Some of the most worrisome cases of IoT hacks involve medical devices and can be deadly.
The potential of botnet attacks poses a serious threat not only to average consumers, but also to corporations. Cyberattacks may have significant consequences in terms of safety and the availability of critical operations. Today, every major organization has started making use of IoT connected devices within the premises and also BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) makes it more threatening as one successful attack can lead to a major loss to the company and it can compromise the main networks of organizations after compromising the IoT-based devices.
IoT security, previously ignored, has now become a matter of great concern, and IoT manufacturers need to take serious measures to ensure the privacy of consumers and the functionality of businesses and corporations. PSA has released a free white paper “IoT Security: What All Manufacturers Need to Know and Apply” which offers several approaches for IoT companies to make connected devices more secure. The full version is available for public download now.