The Internet of Things is one of the most fascinating technologies these days. Yet, like all emerging business solutions, it has its weaknesses as well as strengths. IoT can be leveraged not only in business but also in everyday life. But is it safe? How can IoT device providers protect their users from data leaks and other risks? What is the most reliable Internet of Things solutions?
Surely many of us dream of a smart oven, TV, or fridge. We do this simply because such devices can make our life easier and allow us to spend time more productively. Smart IoT solutions can also be useful in business. Smart cameras, air conditioning in the office or manufacturing machines with special sensors, etc. — all this can reduce overall costs of running the company as well as improve its efficiency. What is the Internet of Things security solutions that make using IoT devices safe for the user?
IoT popularity in business is rising
According to Forbes, in 2023 there will already be 3,5 billion cellular IoT connections. The number of IoT device users grows as they prove to be useful both in daily life as well as in business. Internet of Things dynamic development creates new business opportunities, especially for some industries, for example, healthcare. It is expected that the market of medical IoT devices will grow in the years to come. It is also highly possible that IoT will be commonly leveraged in manufacturing as well.
Furthermore, it is beyond any doubt that IoT-based solutions providers work hard to ensure the safety of end-user data, as the cybersecurity of this kind of solution seems to be one of their biggest issues. Learn about the common Internet of Things security challenges and ways to overcome them.
What are the most important security challenges regarding the Internet of Things (IoT)?
As it turns out, protecting IoT (Internet of Things) devices, systems, and users from cybercrimes and fraud is not an easy task. There are numerous threats out there in the IoT world, and IoT systems are rather vulnerable to attacks of many kinds. Of course, it is difficult to avoid data leaks and attacks if users are not following the right security procedures, but there are other reasons why you may have a problem with data security. What makes IoT software so easy to penetrate for hackers?
A rather large attack surface
IoT devices create a huge network and each connection has the potential to make the entire system weaker. The more services a device can offer to users, the more opportunities there are for an attack to take place. Once the attacker gets in, they will most probably try to learn as much about the vulnerabilities of the system as possible. Those services together can also be called the attack surface. Reducing unnecessary services is the first step to making your IoT system more secure.
Lack of encryption
It seems to be negligent to use a plain-text version of the protocol (like HTTP), while these days it is possible to leverage an encrypted version (for example HTTPS). Devices that communicate with each other in plain text can be attacked during exchanging the information by so-called Man-in-the-Middle (MitM). Once such an entity stands between a device and its endpoint, the attacker is capable of obtaining the user’s sensitive data without them knowing about it. The lack of encryption or incorrect or incomplete encryption makes this data visible and readable for the hacker. This is why all sensitive data stored on a device at rest should be protected by powerful cryptographic algorithms.
Unfortunately, software used by IoT devices is in many cases considered not mature enough or just the opposite — outdated. Using IoT solutions based on obsolete software is a bit like asking for trouble yourself. The way to ensure the safety of your data is to choose the highest quality solutions from providers that leverage the most secure software, test for the vulnerabilities, and update their systems regularly. It is almost impossible to avoid all possible bugs or problems during software development. The company that offers IoT solutions should work constantly on improving software security.
How to improve the security of your business IoT devices
Insufficient privacy protection in IoT devices is a rather large topic, and we would like to focus on the Internet of Things security solutions instead of challenges in this article. Here are some tips on how you can protect your devices and user data.
1. Protect the IoT Network
Make sure you are following all the best practices and that you are leveraging the most modern cybersecurity solutions to protect the network that connects your IoT devices and backend systems. These methods should include such obvious things as advanced anti-virus, anti-malware, and suspicious activity detecting systems.
2. Use authentication on each device
Advanced solutions can be used to grant access to the IoT device only to people that should operate them. Ensuring that no unauthorized Internet users can access your IoT devices and the data they process and store is crucial. By enabling users to authenticate their devices with reliable and robust authentication mechanisms (for example two-factor authentication or authentication using biometrics) you protect your Internet of Things devices and user information.
3. Spot suspicious activity thanks to advanced IoT analytics
There are various ways to keep your IoT devices and data safe. Preventing unauthorized access and data leaks is just the beginning. You need to create a strategy for dealing with the breaches that occur effectively and as soon as they occur. And there is another thing — you will not be able to react to the cyberattack if you are not aware that it’s happening. That is why you need the right cyber attack detection system. Modern detection systems leverage artificial intelligence and advanced analytics to evaluate activity in your systems and spot any abnormal behaviors. AI-based cybersecurity systems learn from data about users’ activity and your IoT devices and software protection and are capable of informing you when something untypical is happening. That gives you more time to react to a crisis.
4. Don’t forget about encryption and PKI security solutions
Data stored on IoT devices, especially those sensitive ones, should be encrypted. It has also become a standard to encrypt data — the data that is shared between IoT devices and back-end systems. There are multiple ways to encrypt important information. You have to think about securing the connection between your IoT device and applications as well. Numerous public key infrastructure (PKI) security methods can be leveraged to protect your data.
5. Take all the time you need for testing
Do not hurry to release your IoT product onto the market. Many business solutions providers are in a rush to launch their products as fast as they can and at the lowest price. As a result, they often produce poorly designed applications that are non-functional and difficult to use. At the worst, such software can also have a lot of bugs and problems with security. The IoT product that is not highly secure will soon be compromised. You can fix this vulnerability using updates and patches, but likely nothing will restore the trust of users. Do not make haste with developing an IoT application. Take all the time you need for testing and double-check your security solutions. A high-quality product will gain customer interest for a long time.
How to manage an IoT project successfully?
When it comes to security, no cost is too high. You can choose from multiple approaches to follow when it comes to ensuring IoT cybersecurity:
- hiring your team of cybersecurity specialists,
- leveraging managed services, where an external company takes care of implementing the best security solutions,
- adding professionals experienced in cybersecurity with staff augmentation model to work with you on a particular project,
- consulting with specialists on the topic of IoT security.
We can help you make your IoT device secure and functional. Contact us if you require some assistance on your project.