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IoT Security Challenges for Telecom Operators

The rapid growth of IoT is introducing many new devices to the market and, at the same time, it’s also introducing several security challenges for telecom operators. Many companies are increasingly concerned about cybersecurity, with the average enterprise reporting 446 intrusions, according to PWC. As new IoT manufacturers reach out to the telecom industry with their product lines, they may fail to understand the telecom industry and its security needs. Unfortunately, the burden of IoT security falls on telecom operators who need to understand the problems that IoT devices face as consumers have come to rely upon them for secure service.

Additional Attack Surfaces

IoT devices bring additional attack surfaces into organizations due to a lack of secured software and connectivity standards. HP discovered that 80 percent of IoT devices currently in use lack complex passwords and 60 percent have exploitable user interfaces. Personal data stored on the devices often have poor or no security measures, which can expose information such as user names and passwords to an attacker. Telecom operators need to provide encryption and secure authentication for IoT connections to limit the attack surface potential of these devices.

Lack of Device Management

Mobile device management applications are centered around tablets and smartphones, not the wide range of IoT devices. Mobile malware infected 1.15 percent of mobile devices in 2015, according to Security Intelligence, and IoT devices are also at risk for malware-carrying applications. An infected IoT device could cause problems with other interconnected devices, whether they’re at home or in the office. Telecom operators can introduce measures to detect known malware apps attempting to pass data over mobile data networks and educate users on mobile security best practices.

Device Loss

According to Channel Pro Network, more than 70 million smartphones are lost or stolen per year, and portable IoT devices are likely to share the same fate. End users suffer from the direct cost of the device lost, as they are rarely recovered, as well as costs associated with data breaches if the IoT device is stolen and accessed. Telecom companies can offer anti-theft accessories and device insurance to lessen the costs for the IoT end user.

The IoT market will bring many innovative products to the telecommunications industry. The key to thriving in the IoT world is understanding the inherent security risks and addressing telecom-specific concerns directly instead of relying on manufacturer input.



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Case Study: IoT is redefining the customer experience. Nokia case study.

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