How to Ensure Cybersecurity in the Age of IoT

Sudeep Srivastava September 4, 2023
Cybersecurity in IoT

We love our smart devices as they enable us to get valuable information in real-time, track essential data, and stay connected with one another, even on the go. It is why Internet of Things (IoT) technology is increasingly integrated into everyday lives, virtual devices, lifestyle practices, and businesses.

According to Statista, there are more than 15 billion connected devices worldwide, which is expected to double by 2030.

Number of IoT devices worldwide from 2019 to 2030 by vertical

The ever-increasing use of connected devices is generating a greater need for cybersecurity. Cybersecurity in IoT encompasses the comprehensive set of technologies and operations to protect devices and their respective platforms from malicious cyber attacks and hacking attempts.

Why is Cybersecurity in IoT Important?

IoT refers to all objects and devices that are interconnected to the internet, allowing seamless accumulation and transmission of data without any human mediation. However, entrusting control to the internet exposes IoT devices to potential cyber-attacks and disruptive interventions.

Now that IoT has become a complete game-changer, cybersecurity has become more essential than ever and challenging at the same time. According to the Unit 42 IoT threat report, 98% of all IoT device traffic is unencrypted, exposing personal and confidential data on the network. It is one huge example of IoT cyber risk. The report also highlights that 57% of IoT devices are vulnerable to medium- or high-severity attacks. Also, 41% of attacks exploit device vulnerabilities which again shows IoT security challenges.

Statistics about IoT security threats

Without adequate security in the Internet of Things, all connected devices provide a direct gateway into our personal and professional networks. The IoT houses extremely sensitive information, particularly in the defense, finance, and healthcare industries. If the IoT devices is accessed via malicious attackers, hackers can easily retrieve intelligence or damage the entire network. Hence, cybersecurity in IoT is essential because one small theft or hack can disrupt the entire network or give cybercriminals easy access to hack the system.

IoT and cybersecurity

Simply put, in the world of IoT and cybersecurity, everything is linked to everything else – from your text message to your website hosting. Therefore, whatever your business is, you can’t overlook the importance of cybersecurity for IoT. It’s not just market leaders like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft that need to bother about IoT cybersecurity solutions; a cyber threat can effectively destroy an emerging startup alike before it even takes off.

So, even if you haven’t fallen prey to a cyberattack yet, take steps now to improve your cybersecurity for IoT and stay safe from potential attacks. Now that we know the importance of IoT and cybersecurity, let’s discuss the challenges of securing IoT devices.

Prevent malicious cyberattacks? Consult our IoT experts

IoT Security Vulnerabilities and Challenges

IoT has revolutionized the way we interact with our smart devices, giving unprecedented convenience and efficiency. However, with the widespread adoption of IoT in healthcare, finance, and other industries, many security vulnerabilities have emerged, necessitating businesses to take a proactive approach to protect IoT ecosystems from potential attacks.

IoT Security Vulnerabilities and Challenges

1. Insufficient Testing and Updating

One of the biggest issues with companies while leveraging IoT security technologies is that no one bothers about data privacy and protection unless some major problem hits. Once IoT manufacturers launch a device, they ensure that it is secure, but over time it becomes prone to hackers and other security issues due to the lack of constant testing and updating. Hence, opening the door to IoT cybersecurity challenges.

Also Read: FinTech Cybersecurity – How to build a financial app with proactive security measures?

2.  Lack of Compliance

Let’s understand it by pipping into the use of IoT devices in our day-to-day lives. If you use fitness trackers, you must have noticed that Bluetooth remains visible after the first pairing. A smart refrigerator can expose Gmail credentials, and a smart fingerprint padlock can be accessed with a Bluetooth key with the same MAC address as the padlock device. These instances exemplify the potential threats of cybersecurity in IoT.

Below are some security issues in IoT devices from manufacturers:

  • Weak and easily guessable passwords
  • Usage of old operating systems and software
  • Insecure and unprotected data storage and transfer
  • Technical issues in the hardware

3.  Botnet Attacks

Cybersecurity for IoT devices is crucial since they are highly vulnerable to Malware attacks. They do not have the regular software security updates that a computer does. To perform a botnet attack, a hacker first creates an army of bots by infecting them with malware. Further, directs them to send thousands of requests per second to bring down the target.

IoT and cybersecurity should go hand in hand to avoid a potential attack. A botnet attack can easily cause a security threat to transportation systems, manufacturing plants, water treatment facilities, and electrical grids, which can threaten big groups of people.

For example, a hacker can create spikes in the power grid by triggering a cooling and heating system at the same time. If this attack is planned on a big scale, it can create a nationwide power outage.

4.  Data Security and Privacy Issues

Do you know that hackers did not spare a visionary like Elon Musk and a company like Apple, known for their proud security claims? If such data comes into the wrong hands, it will not only lead to loss of money but also compromise intellectual property.

According to Microsoft, 60% of employees believe IoT is one of the least secure aspects of their organizations. And less than 50% of organizations have deployed best practices specifically designed to secure their IoT and OT devices. DataProt states that 83% of organizations have witnessed improved efficiency by implementing IoT data security.

5.  Financial Crimes

Electronic payment companies that deploy the Internet of Things may experience a wave of financial crimes. It will be a challenge to ensure the timely detection of fraud.

Also, compliance and operational issues make it intimidating for all financial firms to launch new workflow models unless they improve their risk management strategies, including a rising threat of IoT security breaches.

IoT security breaches

6.  Home Invasions

You must be familiar with the concept of ‘smart homes,’ a by-product of IoT. Cybersecurity for IoT has become a huge issue regarding home automation. Due to unsafe devices and poor defense mechanisms, your IP addresses are trackable, making it easy for hackers to locate the device’s address.

7.  Remote Smart Vehicle Access

An IoT security challenge that is close to home invasion is the hijacking of your smart vehicles. This can lead to theft of personal data, vehicle theft, manipulation of safety-critical systems, etc.

Also, remote vehicle access can be subject to ransomware, as a hacker may demand a hefty fee to unlock the car or to enable the engine. These malicious intrusions are obviously a huge threat to public safety as they can cause accidents.

Also Read: What is Internet of Things (IoT) and How it Works?

Addressing these IoT cybersecurity challenges and vulnerabilities becomes imperative as the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to get widespread adoption in our daily lives and industries. By enhancing cyber security for the Internet of Things, we can harness the full potential of this transformative technology while protecting user privacy and safeguarding against potential threats.

Explore our custom IoT application development services

How to Safeguard IoT Devices Against Cyber Attacks

IoT security issues and solutions were not taken seriously until many hacking attacks, such as Stuxnet, Brickerbot, Mirai botnet, and Abbot, resulted in catastrophic consequences. Since IoT cybersecurity challenges and vulnerabilities give an open window to hackers, businesses are proactively taking essential measures to seal security holes and prevent data breaches, nipping the problem in the bud before it wreaks havoc.

Thus, to secure IoT connections and stay safe from cyber threats, businesses must prioritize taking a proactive approach and implementing strong IoT cybersecurity solutions. Here are some best practices businesses can take to secure IoT connections:

How to Safeguard IoT Devices Against Cyber Attacks

1. Secure Network Infrastructure

It is extremely important to secure the network that is a connecting bridge between the IoT devices and the back-end systems. This can be achieved by implementing security features like antivirus, anti-malware, firewalls, intrusion detection, VPNs, and prevention systems.

Hence, the network must be effectively protected against unauthorized access and malicious attacks to sustain a smooth operation by utilizing the above-mentioned systems.

Protect and secure network infrastructure

2.  Strong Authentication

One of the most effective IoT cybersecurity solutions can be strong authentication features for connected devices. Features like- multi-factor authentication, digital certificates, and biometric systems ensure nobody can access your devices without your permission. A potential attacker will need personal information to access the system, which is of great significance to secure your devices and reduce the probability of your data getting into the wrong hands. When you implement the suggested security options, your IoT devices become well-secured against external security breaches. Thus, you will enjoy the numerous benefits of IoT in cybersecurity, including connected devices at home, in the office, in your automobile, and anywhere you want.

You may like reading: Top 18 IoT Trends That Every Entrepreneur Must Know

3.  Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) Strategy

A public key infrastructure (PKI) allows users to engage in secure communication, data exchange, and money exchange. This type of engagement is carried out using public and private cryptographic key pairs.

PKI ensures data encryption through two — asymmetric and symmetric encryption processes. In asymmetric, we need two keys, one key is the public key, and the other key is the private key. If something is encrypted with the public key, decryption can only be done with the private key and vice-versa.

On the other hand, symmetric data encryption and decryption are done with the same key. Data encryption and decryption ensure that IoT data security is maintained and the chances of data theft are reduced to the bare minimum.

Public key infrastructure strategy

4.  IoT Security Analytics

You can drastically change the number of security issues you face by implementing security analytics. This involves collecting, correlating, and analyzing the data from multiple sources and can help IoT security providers by assisting in the identification of potential threats.

5. Secure Device Management

Businesses should employ best practices of secure device management, such as strong password strategies, remote device monitoring, and centralized control, to effectively detect potential threats and respond to security incidents. Use unique passwords for each of the devices and consider changing them regularly. Avoid using common or easily guessable passwords, such as “your name,” “date of birth,” or “123456”.

6. Regular Monitoring and Security Updates

Ensuring secure IoT connections requires businesses to take a proactive approach that involves continuous monitoring and regular updates of devices and systems. By actively monitoring IoT connections for any unusual activities, vulnerabilities, or security breaches, companies can swiftly detect and respond to potential risks. Furthermore, keeping IoT systems up to date with the latest security patches will effectively mitigate the risks of malicious attacks.

By implementing these measures of cybersecurity in IoT, businesses can significantly secure their IoT connections, protect sensitive data, and mitigate the risks associated with enterprise IoT cybersecurity software development.

Read our case study IoT app for ActiDrive

Reinforce Cybersecurity in IoT with Appinventiv

As IoT devices become increasingly ubiquitous and the risk of potential attacks gets higher, the need for establishing more creative solutions to safeguard the systems against potential cyberattacks grows. Organizations must take proactive measures to monitor, manage and avoid these security challenges. In this endeavor, partnering with a trusted and experienced IoT app development company (like Appinventiv) can be immensely beneficial.

We provide a comprehensive range of solutions tailored to meet the specific needs of businesses operating in the IoT landscape. Our efficient team of IoT developers and cybersecurity professionals carry the core competancy in secure software development, threat intelligence, and incident response, helping businesses reinforce their IoT ecosystems and ensure a robust cybersecurity infrastructure.

By leveraging our IoT development services, businesses can significantly enhance their cybersecurity in IoT while safeguarding their critical assets and maintaining customer trust in this interconnected world.

FAQs

Q. What is IoT cybersecurity?

A. Cybersecurity for IoT refers to the practices used to protect IoT devices, such as home automation, SCADA machines, security cameras, and other connected devices, from unauthorized access, cyber threats, and vulnerabilities.

Q. How Can IoT Cybersecurity be Improved?

A. Here are some best practices businesses can take to improve their cybersecurity in IoT:

  • Change default passwords
  • Use encrypted protocols
  • Secure the network
  • Authenticate the IoT devices
  • Use IoT security analytics
  • Regular monitoring and updates of IoT systems
  • Protect data privacy

Q. Why is cyber security important in IoT?

A. Due to people’s ever-increasing inclination towards smart devices, cybersecurity in IoT has become more essential than ever. IoT devices house vast amounts of sensitive data and are vulnerable to cyber threats, which can lead to severe consequences. Therefore, by leveraging IoT security technologies, we can ensure user privacy, data confidentiality, integrity, and availability, while preventing unauthorized access to connected devices. By prioritizing cybersecurity in IoT, businesses can mitigate the risks of potential attacks, maintain trust in connected technologies, and safeguard critical information from malicious attackers.

THE AUTHOR
Sudeep Srivastava
Co-Founder and Director
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