It is highly speculated that there are already 25 billion devices connected to the Internet. Scientists believe that this number will double by 2020. All around the world, people welcome this kind of progress. However, it also comes with certain downsides.
The Internet is highly vulnerable to hackers for all types of security threats. There are thousands of such attacks happening daily and some of them are really successful, resulting in catastrophic consequences.
Internet of Things (IoT) adds another layer of exposure to hackers. Their approach with IoT requires a lot more knowledge and skills, but the effects of the successful attacks are often greater. In other words, what will happen when the targets of those attacks become our cars, fridges, and our remote controls?
The Main Factors That Can Compromise IoT Security
IoT is becoming uncontrollable due to the huge number of devices connected. It is the main way that IoT impacts cybersecurity technology. Here are the concrete examples of how IoT causes security problems.
1. Hacks of Cloud Services
IoT devices send and store their data in cloud services. These services generally have great security. Yet, the data on it makes them a primary target for hackers. If someone manages to penetrate their protection, the consequences will be disastrous, with billions of dollars’ worth of data stolen or gone completely.
2. Polymorphic Malware and Ransomware Attacks
Malware and Ransomware attacks are on the rise and the technology that supports them is slowly incorporating AI. More powerful attacks are likely to happen, where AI will coordinate with them and plan them in order to make them more efficient against the specific device or system. The best thing you can do to secure yourself is to learn hacking so that you can prevent it.
3. Uneducated Users of IoT Devices
A lack of education about security is the biggest problem not only among users of IoT devices but also among developers and manufacturers. In order to solve this problem, many professionals are educating people by initiating and conducting seminars on the same .
4. AI Not Powerful Enough
Despite the fact that AI is being upgraded constantly, it is still not powerful enough to support the amount of data that is being processed by devices and stop certain security breaches from happening.
5. The Volumes of Data are Immense
It logically follows that the amount of data will be enormous which will impose a significant security threat to the IoT as a whole. Federal Trade Commission reported that there are approximately 150 million points of data generated by 10,000 households on a daily basis. Hackers will have many gateways for hacking into systems and devices .
An Illustrative Example of a Security Breach
According to IBM’s Security Intelligence website, one of the most interesting cases of the security breach of a device connected to the Internet happened in July of 2015. Namely, a research team managed to take partial control of a Jeep. They did it by finding a vulnerable spot in the firmware update.
The Jeep was partially in control of the researchers and they controlled it via CAN bus. They could change the speed of the vehicle, kill the brakes and even managed to change its direction.
Education is the Way to Protection
One way to increase security levels in the domain of IoT is to educate users, the developers and the manufacturers about the security. Projects such as the OWAS Internet of Things (IoT) Project aim to raise awareness of the possible security threats that are associated with IoT.
The project educates about insecure web interface, bad authentication processes, the insecurity of network services, insecure software and even touches upon the omissions in the physical security.
The goal of this and similar projects is not only to educate but to raise awareness of the possible attacks in the future. Professionals and experts in the field of Cybersecurity are worried that the increase in the devices connected to the Internet is not followed by any security. Instead, the number of devices rises and the security stalls.
Quick Tips to Increase Security of IoT Devices
There are still a lot of people who are not aware of the basic security processes. These short tips can serve as a check-list for both IoT devices and the traditional Internet. Take a look.
- Avoid devices that do not have licensed software or that do not require any kind firmware update
- Always remember to change the default username and password when installing a device to the Internet
- Update your device regularly
- Always come up with a strong password that involves both UPPERCASE and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols
- Make sure that the passwords for different devices are not the same and try to make them as different as possible
- Avoid telling your security credentials to anyone and try to remember them instead of writing them down
- If the device does not require a constant connection to the Internet, disconnect it whenever you can in order to minimize the risk of an attack
- Make sure to make a separate network for your IoT devices in order to avoid sharing them with the guests who connect to your Wi-Fi
- Make sure that your personal IoT devices, such as wearables (smart watches, mobile phones), do not connect automatically to other networks
The technology of IoT is rapidly spreading. Yet, the knowledge about the security of IoT systems and devices seems to lacking. Apart from educating people about the security and potential threats, the IoT experts should definitely make platforms which will make the security management easier. In other words, security should be made user-friendly and, with enough knowledge, we will be able to lower the threat and improve the cybersecurity technology that protects our IoT devices.