IoT refers to devices of everyday use that are now connected to the internet, receiving and sharing data with one another. This exciting new technology has been made possible by the advent of cheap microprocessor chips and the availability of wireless networks. The IoT has made the devices we work with smarter and more responsive to our needs e.g. motion-sensor enabled streetlights, driverless cars, etc.
Researchers at the International Data Corporation have predicted that there will be as many as 41.6 billion IoT enabled devices in the world by 2025.
These devices will be connected to each other and will be sharing tonnes of data with each other. Apart from smart home & wearable devices, people will also leverage IoT in industrial & automotive sectors. Among all, security devices such as an intruder detection alarm and security camera systems will account for the second-highest use of IoT devices.
IoT & the security issues
As the IoT-enabled devices are being adopted more and more, the security concerns are also mounting. Hacked smart homes and police surveillance systems are some of the devastating security breaches that can be made possible by the IoT.
The smart home is probably where most consumers will be coming in direct contact with the internet of things and although they will make life much simpler and convenient, there are serious security concerns associated with it. These issues cannot be overlooked.
The sensors on IoT devices keep collecting private data and keeping this data secure is of the utmost importance for consumer trust. Unfortunately, attention to security details has been lacking and even the basic security measure like encrypting the data is not followed through.
IoT security has increasingly become a matter of concern after the occurrence of a number of high-profile cyberattacks where a common IoT-enabled device was used to infiltrate and attack the larger network the device was a part of. Many IoT devices lack the ability to fix the flaws in their architecture and such an inherent lack of security has now made IoT devices an easy target for hackers. Some smartwatches contain vulnerabilities that will enable hackers to not only track the location of the person wearing it but also eavesdrop on their conversation. Having a security infrastructure in place is critical to ensure the safety and privacy of networks with IoT devices connected to them.
With the reduction in the cost of making smart objects, these devices will become more ubiquitous and the risk would then be much more widespread. Since IoT connects the virtual world with the real world, any attack on an IoT device can have dangerous real-world consequences especially if such an attack is directed at critical industrial infrastructure.
As we are all aware, IOT sensors have the ability to collect enormous amounts of data from the user which can be put together to create a credible consumer profile.
Companies now have the ability to create and analyze vast amounts of data sets making IoT a big driver of data analytics.
Imagine what will happen when hackers become successful in exploiting all the security loopholes & get access to all the data that consumers are generating every second.
This raises some important questions regarding privacy issues that need to be addressed.
IoT, Cloud & 5G- Security
IoT has given a boost to many other technologies like cloud computing and 5G. With the expected creation of huge loads of data via the IoT, many companies will choose to store their data on a public cloud rather than investing in building huge in-house capacities.
Fifth-generation wireless technology or 5G offers a significant expansion of frequency on which cellular technology can transfer data. This increase in speed will allow IoT devices to efficiently communicate with each other.
Similarly, 5G offers the ability to fit over one million 5G devices in a relatively small area. This makes it relatively easy for anyone to predict a big growth in the 5G sector for supporting IoT devices. The high speed of 5G’s networks coupled with its better capacity will also create a much better AR/VR experience which can open the doors to innovation in business, education and more. The adoption of 5G technology can also lead to the digitalization of physical industries such as transport, manufacturing, mining, construction, etc. Despite these benefits, 5G poses a greater security threat than the technologies that preceded it, mainly because there exist more vectors through which a malicious hacker can attack. Due to the sensitive nature of many of these industries, ensuring the safety and security of these networks is of paramount importance. Thus, with the rising adoption of 5G and IoT technology, we would witness an even greater need for cybersecurity experts.
As the price of building IoT devices continues to drop, more such devices will continue to be added to the market. It is well understood that without setting certain standards and taking up security measures, we will most probably witness a lot many big IoT related security breaches in the forthcoming years. At any rate, filling our homes with smart products will certainly involve some degree of security and privacy as a trade-off. Since IoT is a relatively new technology that has generated enough excitement in the market, product managers and device manufacturers are very eager to get their products introduced in the market quickly without taking the necessary measures to build security systems from the very beginning. The end result is that there is a lot of scope of security-related enhancements in modern IoT devices.