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The Growing Importance of the “Security of Things”

The Internet of Things (IoT) is making for a more convenient, efficient and enjoyable world, but IoT can also feature some serious security flaws. Currently, there are no cohesive security regulations surrounding IoT, and many security management methods for mobile phones, computing device and consumers electronics have failed to meet the unique security challenges IoT presents. Here’s what IoT security issues exist and why a proactive security approach is required.

IoT Security Issues and Breaches

IoT offers an interconnected network where devices, phones and even consumer appliances can all communicate with each other. This level of connectivity can lead to more security vulnerabilities than ever. On top of that, many IoT devices are small and feature limited computing power, which often impacts their ability to encrypt data. In addition, IoT features a wide array of devices, many with different security functions and capabilities.

High profile security breaches related to IoT have already occurred. Target employed a third-party IoT firm to monitor and adjust temperatures in its stores. Attackers were able to use stolen credentials from this IoT network to access customer data and cause a significant breach.

Target is not alone as IoT threats can impact government installations, corporate offices, factories and healthcare providers as well. In fact, 39 percent of executives surveyed indicated that security issues were the primary concern when it comes to adopting IoT solutions in the workplace, underlining why some companies have been slow to adopt IoT solutions.

How to Create a Secure IoT Future

There are many ways that carriers can help protect IoT systems. Carriers ensure IoT devices have the latest patches, all devices have strong access passwords and Bluetooth connectivity is kept to a minimum. In addition, carriers make sure WPA2 security is utilized for authentication instead of the weaker WEP.

A carrier service can also implement lockout procedures during authentication after too many unsuccessful login attempts and provide certificate-based authentication (CBA) for sensitive IoT devices. They are also essential for monitoring all IoT devices, and can ensure that sessions are logged from beginning to end, intrusions into an IoT device are documented and the right restrictions are placed on users to limit access.

Carriers can also ensure all IoT devices have a robust Root of Trust with code signing and SSL/TLS encryption. The right carrier can also detect and prevent attacks on IoT at the physical level by implementing security procedures to ensure IoT devices are as tamper-proof as possible.

In the meantime, the government appears to be moving towards taking action. The Federal Trade Commission recently released a report urging IoT device makers to build security into their products from the beginning instead of just as an afterthought. In addition, the report urges Congress to pass laws requiring that consumers be notified of any IoT device security flaws that are discovered.

Ultimately, IoT will only grow, with 50 billion IoT devices expected by 2020. That’s why companies and carriers that take the right precautions now will be in a better position to protect themselves from many future security threats.

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