The Internet of Things (IoT) has gone from aspirational to actual in many ways, with 2017 promising solid growth in both chip sales and platform development. It promises always evolving applications in both consumer and business applications, from smart homes and smart cities to smart factories and smart transportation. However, the reality of IoT brings with it the real need for solid security both in product design and installation.
Security vendor McAfee, in its 2017 Threats Predictions report, said:
The Internet of Things encompasses hundreds or thousands of types of devices in every industry. In fact, IoT should not be thought of as devices, but as networks of devices enabling and offering services, many of which are cloud based. As a result, IoT threats and responses are intimately linked with cloud threats and responses.
In 2016, hackers continued to prove the inherent weaknesses of some IoT devices. In October 2016, for example, internet infrastructure service provider Dyn was attacked by a Denial of Service (DoS) attack, Forbes reported. Dyn has a roster of customers that includes Twitter, Amazon, Spotify, and Netflix.
Although hackers still haven’t found ways to monetize IoT-focused attacks, the sheer number of connected devices creates a compelling target. Ransomware offers on potential avenue for hackers. Hacktivists (hacking to make a political point) and nation-state attacks are two potential avenues of security breaches, McAfee said. Further, consumer privacy erosion will continue to be a key concern. Businesses will not be immune either. “During the next two to four years, we will see more instances of IoT devices used as gateways to data and intellectual property theft, critical infrastructure disruption, and other major attacks,” McAfee said.
To address these types of security challenges, security has to be built in from the ground up by designers and original electronics OEMs. Software and firmware must be updated regularly. Further, those implementing technology must secure the network and communications infrastructure as well. Further, users need to be trained to be aware of security needs. The whole system, and its parts, must be secured.
The infographic below, from InternetofMoreThings.com, offers some interesting statistics on just how big the security problem may be—and just how critical it is to pay attention.
— Hailey Lynne McKeefry, Editor in Chief, EBN