M2M and IoT technology have a vast potential in the telecom industry, but new technology can lead to new security attacks. IoT and M2M devices can connect to the internet or other machines and communicate collected data, provide remote control features and enable other functionality. Insecure connections present an opportunity for data interception and may cause problems with device functions. The IoT market is expanding at a rapid pace, with Juniper Research projecting 38 billion IoT devices by 2020. This 285 percent increase in the installed IoT base may introduce devices without IoT security in mind, however.
Security Challenges for M2M and IoT Technology
IoT security is a top concern for many companies interested in adopting or developing IoT devices. Business Insider found 39 percent of companies were holding off on investing in this market segment due to security-related concerns. High-profile data breaches continue to impact businesses as cyber criminals create more ways to gain unauthorized access to valuable data. Security Intelligence found the average data breach costs companies $3.79 million. Introducing additional vulnerability points through M2M and IoT is a risk some companies are wary of taking, given the high costs associated with security failure.
Another security challenge for IoT and M2M technology is the longer lifecycle of many of these devices. Companies and consumers don’t need constant upgrades for these devices, especially when they’re embedded in expensive devices, or those with long development cycles. Existing security measures may not take product lifecycle into account, making it hard or impossible to apply security updates as new attack vectors are discovered.
Solving the IoT Security Problem
Some security solutions address the vulnerabilities inherent in connecting to a wireless or mobile network, but skip over other potential access points. Robust security, including encryption and other measures, needs to be built into the architecture of the devices, instead of being skipped over entirely. Without widespread security platforms or solutions, adding security after the fact increases the security risk of these devices. Any security solution also needs to consider the longer potential lifecycle of the devices, so security updates can be loaded onto the system.
M2M and IoT security will go through growing pains as the market matures–especially as hackers find new exploits and security holes. By taking a security-first approach to development, IoT and M2M manufacturers tackle the problem head-on instead of patching in security after release.