The 2017 finally became the year when the world exploded with the fuss about the Internet of Things (IoT) technology. It’s been around for years, but the time has come when the irresponsible development and limited awareness of IoT threats have led some industries to the point of spreading the word fast and furious. Let us talk about this topic too to explore its future challenges that 2018 is hiding in a pocket.
No puns intended, but the IoT development balances in a dark and turbulent atmosphere just as the characters from Netflix’s Stranger Things TV-show. Aside from social media hype, there are some troubles in IoT paradise that are left unspoken for various reasons. Like getting more investments and consumers interest, while neglecting quality or security of this technology.
As we all already heard, an industrial IoT will continue to grow with every second. The new level of scrutiny would be entwined with the enormous numbers of IoT devices, false forecasts, and big promises made by manufacturers on a global scale. That’s why the vulnerabilities in global internet systems will become worse and worse too. Security experts and major businesses all around the world should take their malware defense measures more seriously. People always fear the uncertainty and doubts, so the IoT security companies would face some new challenges in order to ensure their clients’ safety.
Along with this, Gartner’s research of the Top 10 IoT technologies for 2018 provides an insight into what the consumers are most interested in for now. Here is the list:
The heading needed expertise is security, so not all of these IoT trends are sunshine and rainbow. New network safety weaknesses will give a carte blanche to hackers and cyber terrorists that seek to use the IoT for their own benefits. The list of IoT breaches up to 2017 is already pretty rattling. The famous October’s 2016 cyberattack on the Internet of Things targeted Dyn, a provider of domain registration services. As the result, major websites like the NYT, Netflix, and Twitter were temporarily brought to their knees. And the good thing was that this attack didn’t compromise users’ personal data or credentials.
But combined with other attacks, like a power-grid hack in the Ukraine, it made a point that massive cyberattacks on IoT devices and protocols could and happen again. The Internet of Things technology’s expansion can’t be stopped no matter the warnings. So, the next time, the damage could be much bigger. So, for the businesses to adopt the full value of this technology and avoid being hacked, pretty heavy investments are needed for security experts training.
For experienced hackers, it’s a no big deal to find new ways to crack an IoT hardware and software. Therefore, IoT security startups have to look for stronger solutions and involve multiple vendors. As it’s clear that old-school approaches like VPNs and two-layered protection won’t be enough for industrial systems. The IoT environment requires secure-by-design and forward-looking approach that will meet future challenges. Also, one of the possible ways to success would be raising the awareness of all IoT-connected enterprises that their security is needed to be a top priority.
By 2019, more than 75 percent of IoT device manufacturers will improve their security and privacy capabilities, making them more trustworthy partners for technology buyers.
Now, here are the challenges that security experts should take into consideration in 2018.
The data privacy field is mostly related to a client’s context and it’s one of the reasons why people still hesitate when it comes to consuming the IoT apps. Any customer deserves a secured environment in which their data would be protected. So, this task needs to be taken seriously from both client and seller sides. Not only hackers are a threat, but the manufacturing and distributing corporations too – they use those interconnected devices to obtain user’s personal data. Like healthcare companies that track their clients and employees health information.
We can ignore the fact that our health is being monitored by corporations, but there is always a question of what they will do with the gathered data. The common scenario is that it could be sent or sold to other companies, which already violates individual privacy rights. That’s why there are privacy and compliance rules that offer protection for consumers who actually read any agreement they sign before ordering a device. Corporations must have policies in regards to keeping users’ data safe at any point. Some new IoT technology regulations would raise the need for changing the compliancy pacts, but it’s a necessary step to secure the industry itself.
There would be a lot of new gadgets coming into IoT field in the next five years and the problem is that the tech companies which build these devices are too careless about security risks. They do not update their products enough or at all – and the safe IoT device a customer first bought, becomes unprotected when hackers discover its vulnerabilities. It’s the same as it once was with the computers, but the case was solved due to the automatic updates. These days, the companies are eager to deliver and launch their gadgets as quickly as possible, while compromising their security.
Even if the firmware upgrades are offered it’s always for a period of time. Then they stop when manufactures focus on building the next device, and the customers are left with outdated hardware that poses a security risk. What can be done? Basically, to protect the network, IoT professionals and corporations have to update their devices as often as possible. Make their Internet Things stranger and then, even more, stranger for hackers to figure out.
The fundamental fear of security experts lays in the fact that IoT increases the number of gadgets behind the network’s firewall. It’s not just about protecting computers and smartphones anymore. These days, one has to secure a car, a home with its appliances, the wearables, healthcare and baby monitors, etc. Dozens of devices and services around us are IoT-enabled, therefore, they can be hacked, uncovering users’ personal data for criminals to exploit. This could be anything from a total remote control of the car to compromised health vitals.
Machine-to-machine communication that has the ability to connect and share data is often a fully automated process. Energy and power management, factory activities, shopping, mobile apps, and logistics are the basic examples of such solutions. The whole process of data gathering and exchange requires no people directly involved in it, just machines that serve humanity. And creating these IoT APIs circles are easier than ever before, not to mention that there is no more need for teams of expensive consultants. The operating organizations do everything by themselves to save their budget.
So, the point is that with the increasing spread of IoT around the globe more and more devices would emerge and all of them must be safe to protect their users’ private information. While integrating the IoT services every company has to ensure that their embedded technology is following security protocols. Millions of devices, billions in perspective...
Here is a challenge that concerns the front line of defense – the customers themselves. If you want to protect your home you should take the IoT security threat as seriously as tech companies and the governments. You must be wary about the IoT aspects that could create a gap in your network’s safety. Always keep in mind how the IoT devices you use could be used against you and what security features do they offer for your protection. Do your research before installing the Internet-connected service.
The best course of actions is to consider the potential threats beforehand. If you buy a device from a less established unknown provider you have to understand that cheap price and the variety of attractive features almost always means that other aspects, like security, are left aside. Smaller companies present the higher risks, and when they fold there would be no one to fix the vulnerabilities of your device. So, consumers must not neglect the IoT security risks whether from hackers or corporations. Our computers and phones have automatic updates, but we shouldn’t be too lazy to perform other basic steps in order to keep our gadgets safe.
Not just the software is the problem – the hardware is also taken over by hackers to do something that it isn’t supposed to do in a most devious way. Due to the inner vulnerabilities, a device can become a part of an attack. It includes same old security cameras, cars, hospital applications and heart monitors, power grids, nuclear reactors, and so on. And the one thing when just one person’s life is being put in danger, but when it comes to thousands of lives? Rhetorical. We think we can control everything but it’s a misbelief.
Here lies the threat of IoT security attacks on a hardware: cyber terrorists may use the devices about the danger of which we don’t even have a clue. And this warfare will only grow with days. Technology advances, sure, but the complex IoT chip-processors and powerful microcomputers won’t ever be cheap. Therefore, low-cost disposable and more vulnerable parts will emerge on the market to replace them, which represents the biggest concern. This is the last thing the IoT industry needs – unstandardized platforms and fragmentation.
The way out is to combine every piece of an IoT chain for protection purposes – state-of-art encryption, passwords, the latest versions of software and hardware on the device. And no other standalone gadget must be put onto an isolated network without an operator’s knowledge.
The battle for the user’s information safety is an ongoing infinite process and we should understand that there would never be such a thing as the completely secure network-based platform. But it must be a goal for all corporations. They are obliged to implement a multi-faceted approach to safety measures that are required to expose all digital and physical risks of IoT edge computing, back-end system, and middleware. Also, some strict regulations and standards should be deployed in order to perform security control. We’ll need to wait and see what results would the 2018 IoT Security Summit bring.
It’s hard to predict the future when the true capabilities of IoT are still uncovered. But the one thing is for sure – the investors already began paying more and more attention to the IoT security foundation. So, the upcoming year presents a great opportunity for the Internet of Things security startups that plan to win over the global market. Therefore, what an IT development company can do for now is to ensure our applications users’ safety by improving all of our techniques and pushing the development flow to a new level.