Over the years, we have seen an exponential increase in the number of devices that have been connected to the Internet. From a little over 15 billion devices in 2015 to a mammoth 23 billion devices connected in 2018, this number has been increasing exponentially.
It is estimated that by 2020, this figure will exceed the 30 billion mark with over 75 billion devices projected to be connected to the Internet by 2025. Humongous it may sound, but that is true!
With so many IoT devices connected and, deployed in an uncontrolled, complex, and often hostile environment, securing these IoT systems presents a number of unique security challenges as discussed under:
IoT Security Challenges
The popularity of IoT has put across a number of complex security issues, especially privacy concerns that make IoT users susceptible to a lot of risks. These risks include cyber-attacks and identity theft in addition to default or hardcoded passwords that can create room for security breaches. The prevalent loopholes can be exploited by the cybercriminals in the dark web to gain remote access and wreak havoc on the devices.
The recent DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks affecting the IoT services and devices around the world in 2016 is an eye-opener and a proof that the security threat against IoT is for real.
What is IoT Security?
IoT security is concerned with safeguarding connected devices and networks in the world of the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT security refers to the prescriptive steps that are taken to beef up the security of IoT devices and reduce their susceptibility to attacks from unauthorized users.
Here are the solutions that may be implemented to increase the security of an organization’s IoT devices:
1. Deploy IoT Security Analytics
The vulnerabilities and security issues that leave an organization exposed to the potential IoT threats can be drastically reduced when security analytics are implemented. This strategy involves data collection, correlation, and analysis from multiple sources assisting enterprises to identify potential threats and eradicate such threat from the beginning.
2. Public Key Infrastructure is important
The Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) comprising of a set of policies, software/hardware, and procedures is imperative for the creation, management, and distribution of the digital certificates. PKI ensures data encryption coming from both asymmetric and symmetric encryption processes. In the asymmetric data encryption process, both the data encryption and decryption is done with the same key while different keys are used for the data encryption and decryption in the symmetric encryption processes. The process ensures that data privacy is maintained with the chances of data theft being reduced to a bare minimum.
3. Communication Protection between Connected Devices
IoT is built on the premise of the communications shared between connected devices. When this communication is compromised, there will be an eventual communication breakdown thus rendering the devices useless. To ensure safety, the communication has to be encrypted. This principle applies to the communication which the connected devices share with the interface like mobile apps and web apps.
4. Ensuring Network Security
IoT devices are connected to back-end systems that are already connected to the Internet via an IoT network, which plays an important role in the smooth operation of the IoT devices.
To keep the organization fuel burning, there is an urgent need for the IoT network to be secured and protected, through deploying endpoint security features like intrusion prevention, firewalls, anti-malware and antivirus softwares into the enterprise systems.
5. Managing Updates
Every product comes with updates which are a regular process to security maintenance. For the update, data might need to be pulled out temporarily or physically accessed. Some devices might not support data updates especially the older ones. It is essential to make use of the device manager to keep a track of the updated versions.
6. Making the Web and Mobile more Secure with Cloud Application
IoT devices use cloud applications over the web or mobile to access and process data, which makes it important to provide a more secure approach to IoT security. Ensure that your organisation has adopted 2FA (which is a multi-layered security) and use more secure passwords for authenticating services applications.
Thus, summing up, there is an urgent need to secure the data and software hosted on the cloud and the workstations against the stalking criminals in the dark web. These pointers discussed above will surely prove to be effective in addressing this important concern.