Internet of Things Security

As the number of connected devices in homes, offices, public institutions and industrial frameworks increases, so does the need for better Internet of Things security. Each new IoT device and network introduces more points of vulnerability, and it’s time for cybersecurity experts to update their skills to meet and counter the latest threats.

Everything in industry and business today rests on data. Business-to-Consumer (B2C) companies want more information about their customers, and Business-to-Business (B2B) companies are always looking for ways to streamline operations. Business owners in general are interested in boosting productivity while slashing costs, and IoT devices can address all these concerns.

With millennials transitioning into becoming heads of households, the technology with which they grew up is becoming a fixture of daily life. Tech companies and retailers are responding with a variety of new IoT devices to meet the increasing demand for perpetual connectivity, instant gratification and personalized experiences.

Devices with the ability to monitor activities and carry out routines in response to behavior patterns are also becoming more common. These include smart refrigerators and trash cans designed to track which products are used most often and deliver reminders when stock runs low, and appliances with the ability to sense when maintenance is required.

Estimates regarding the number of connected devices expected to be in use in the near future vary widely and are in constant flux, but all predictions are staggering. In 2016, general estimates ranged from 6.4 billion to 17.6 billion devices by 2020. IoT devices reached 8.4 billion in 2017, thereby outnumbering the population of the world. Sometime during 2018, IoT device use will likely outpace smartphones.

Every point at which a device connects to a network is vulnerable to attacks from hackers. Because so many IoT devices are in operation and many have the ability to transition between networks as users move, IoT technology is particularly susceptible to new security threats. The diversity of the technology alone is enough to provide hackers multiple points of entry into networks. This means a single weak point in a connected IoT landscape can compromise the safety of all devices connected to and information transmitted over the network.

Hackers may infiltrate networks using direct physical attacks on hardware, by compromising software or by targeting the networks themselves.

In the coming years, IT professionals must be prepared to stay up to date on the latest threats, obtain the proper certifications to meet new security challenges and partner with other experts in the field to build the strongest, most comprehensive network of protection possible.

The full Internet of Things security white paper is available to IMI members. Join Identity Management Institute and become certified.