The Biggest Security Challenges IoT Faces
The evolving technology has made our life easy. Things that were far-fetched dreams once have become a thing of reality. Driverless cars, automatic appliances, smart TVs, smartphones, and almost everything around us has been upgraded through technology. Though dependent as we are on technology, we often neglect the flipside of it. What’s the flipside, you ask? The security threats and challenges that come with every technological advancement.
In this blog, we will be discussing the technology of IoT and the threats it faces. Let us start with a brief on what IoT is.
Internet of Things or IoT:
Have you ever heard of IoT or the Internet of Things? If you have not, let me tell you briefly. IoT implies the Internet of Things, a phrase that describes a network between various devices that work through the internet daily. The data is collected and transferred between these devices through the internet via beacons, Bluetooth signals, and the cloud. These devices can be found everywhere, for instance, our household devices like smart TVs, thermostats, ovens, smart devices like Alexa, and so on. IoT is very useful in the marketing industry as it can assist in tracking details about purchases, consumer location awareness, targeting customers, among other things.
There are five types of IoT:
- Consumer IoT— used for domestic appliances and homes.
- Commercial IoT— used for the commercial sector like in healthcare and transport, etc.
- Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)— used to control big data in industries and digital control systems, etc.
- Infrastructure IoT— used to connect smart cities through infrastructure.
- Military Things (IoMT)— used in the military areas for surveillance.
How IoT Functions?
An IoT is a technological ecosystem that works through web-enabled smart devices. They use processors, communication devices, and sensors(embedded systems), for collecting and sending the data they have acquired from their surroundings. The devices of IoT split the sensor data collected through an IoT gateway they are connected to other devices. For analysis, the data is transferred to the cloud.
One thing to keep in mind is that not every connected device is a part of IoT. It can make use of various technologies like AI, to make the process easier and effective. Some of the benefits you can think of about IoT are:
- Reduced labor cost
- Faster execution of actions
- Better monitoring of things
- Adopts various business models easily
- Helps in generating more revenue
If we go through the statistics, it is estimated that by the end of 2021 around 35 billion of the IoT devices will be installed worldwide, and it will generate a revenue of about 124 billion dollars. If we talk about stats on threats, around 75 percent of affected IoT devices are routers and it usually takes around 5 minutes for an IoT device to get infected.
Now, we get to the part where we discuss the threats the Internet of Things faces. After knowing how it functions, knowing the threats it faces is more understandable.
You might have heard of Chatbots. Do not confuse them with Botnets. A Botnet is a wide network of systems combined remotely to control a target system for the distribution of malware. These are controlled by cyber criminals through Command-and-Control-Servers such as phishing. Botnets are used by cybercriminals to attack the devices connected through the Internet of Things like smartphones, laptops, etc. to collect your personal information. One example of a Botnet is the Mirai botnet that infected about 2.5 million devices including printers, routers, cameras, among other things. Cybercriminals have invented new botnets to catch vulnerable devices to get into them.
Denial of Service
DoS or Denial of Service is a deliberate attack on target systems to cause an overload in capacity by sending numerous requests. One thing to note about the DoS attack is that usually, critical data isn’t the target of stealing. But, it can slow down and/or disable the service provided by a business, thereby tarnishing the reputation. This can lead to shifting your customers to another business and affect your revenue.
Man-in-the-Middle or MiTM is a hacker that tries to transgress the communication channel between two independent systems for intercepting the messages between them. The attackers try to capture the systems by gaining control over their communication and send illegitimate messages to other systems. They can attack several Internet of Things devices in real-time and can unleash bad consequences on IoT devices like industrial devices or medical devices.
Data and Identity Theft
This is perhaps the most vulnerable threat that you might see. There have been various instances where data breaches have made headlines. Information that is confidential like personal details, email addresses, and other details has been stolen in these data breaches. With the advancement in technology, hackers have no access to devices like smartwatches, smart TVs, and other things connected through IoT to gain more data by accessing them. With this collected or stolen data, it has become easier to steal data and/or identities of people.
Social engineering is used by hackers to maneuver people into providing their personal and sensitive information like bank details or passwords to other things. Cybercriminals also use social engineering for phishing emails where an appealing email is created to lure people and when they click on it, their information is leaked to the cybercriminals. They are simpler to execute in the case of IoT devices as they collect a huge amount of data and develop personalized user experiences. PII or personally identifiable information can be accessed by attackers for gaining personal information like details of the bank, purchase history, and home address to gain illegal use of data.
Advanced Persistent Threats
APTs or advanced personal threats are major threats to organizations. It is a targeted cyber attack to gain illegal access to a network. They remain undetected for quite some time. This enables the attackers to monitor network activity and steal sensitive data through APTs or Advanced Persistent Threats. These are difficult to detect, prevent, and mitigate in nature. In the case of IoT devices, a huge amount of critical data is easily transferred between devices. A cybercriminal gets hold of these devices and gains access to networks both on a personal and industrial level to steal private information.
These have a reputation for being one of the most notorious cyber threats. A hacker improvises malware to encipher data used in business operations. Then, the hacker demands a ransom for decrypting the data, hence ‘Ransomware’. It is like a ‘civilized’ threat where the hackers use thermostats. In IoT devices, the hacker can attack the devices at the home and demand a ransom from the owner.
Every technological advancement has its threats. And as a business, it should be your utmost concern to prevent any threat or malicious activity that attempts to steal your data and causes a huge loss to you. Using various safety measures to prevent such mishaps will help you to secure yourself. Paying attention from the beginning is the key. Hiring digital marketing agencies to help you incorporate the technologies safely might be a good way to get started. Remember, it is better to be safe than sorry!