IoT Security Issues, Threats, and Defenses carderbasesu, try2swipecc
The internet of things (IoT) has grown so broad that the development of its security had to quickly keep up. This article discusses the basics of IoT security in order to help frame what it is, why it is necessary, and how it can be achieved.
We begin by defining the “things” in the internet of things, because the diversity in IoT devices makes the IoT’s scope so broad and its security challenging. The main characteristics of an IoT device is that they are able to connect to the internet and interact with its environment through the collection and exchange of data. Devices commonly have limited computing capacity and only a few specific functions. Because devices are so diverse, there are countless ways IoT can be used and applied to different environments.
For regular users, smart homes demonstrate just how accessible IoT devices are. Users can update their home’s security system (through smart locks, IP cameras, and motion sensors) or improve their entertainment system (through a smart TV, smart speakers, and connected game consoles) by simply buying such devices. IoT devices are also often portable and can be connected to any network. A typical example is how users bring their devices from their homes to the office (e.g. smart watches and e-readers).
While diversity can give users countless devices to choose from, it is one of the reasons behind the fragmentation of the IoT and carries many of its security concerns. The lack of industry foresight and standardization has given rise to compatibility issues that also complicate the matter of security. The portability of devices presents a greater possibility of threats poisoning more than one network. Compounding to these concerns are other factors that IoT security must address.
While IoT devices play a huge role in the discussion of IoT security, placing all the focus on this aspect of the IoT does not provide a full picture of why security is necessary and what it entails. There are many factors that make IoT security critical today.
Threats and risks
IoT security is critical largely because of the expanded attack surface of threats that have already been plaguing networks. Adding to these threats are insecure practices among users and organizations who may not have the resources or the knowledge to best protect their IoT ecosystems.
These security issues include the following:
The lack of industry foresight gave little time to develop strategies and defenses against familiar threats in growing IoT ecosystems. Anticipating emerging issues is one of the reasons research on IoT security must be done continuously. Here are some of the emerging issues that need to be monitored:
The possible consequences of IoT attacks
Aside from the threats themselves, their consequences in the context of the IoT can be much more damaging to deal with. The IoT has the unique capability of affecting both virtual and physical systems. Cyberattacks on IoT ecosystems could have far more unpredictable effects because they translate more easily into physical consequences. This is most prominent in the field of industrial internet of things (IIoT) , where past cyberattacks had already demonstrated cascading consequences. In the healthcare industry , IoT devices are already being utilized to remotely monitor patients’ vital signs and has proven very helpful during the pandemic. Attacks on such devices can expose sensitive patient information or even endanger their health and safety. In the smart home, exposed devices could allow cybercriminals to monitor the household, compromise security devices like smart locks, and turn devices against their owners, as was the case when a baby monitor and a smart thermostat were hacked in separate attacks.
There is no instant fix that can answer the security issues and threats laid out in this article. Specific strategies and tools may be necessary for properly securing more specialized systems and aspects of the IoT. However, users can apply a few best practices to reduce risks and prevent threats:
Aside from employing these security practices, users should also be aware of new developments in the technology. IoT security has been given heavier consideration in recent times. Research is continually being done on how to secure specific industries, monitor IoT-related threats, and prepare for upcoming gamechangers such as 5G. Users must understand that the IoT is an active and developing field, therefore its security will always have to transform and adapt to its changes.With additional insights from Vit Sembera and Jakub Urbanec.
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