Every day, the world becomes more interconnected through the internet of things (IoT). When imagining the almost endless convenience and efficiency that this will bring, one can hardly help but feel a sense of excitement. On the flip side, there is a rightful concern about the potential problems that can result from IoT security challenges.
Are you familiar with IoT and the security challenges it brings? Read on to learn more.
What is the Internet of Things?
Internet of things (IoT) is a giant network of interconnected items and the people who use them. In simplest terms, almost anything with an on/off switch can now connect to the internet and/or to other items. This includes cell phones and personal devices, appliances, vehicles, machine parts, and more.
Gartner Gartner estimated that by the end of 2017, there will be over 8.4 billion connections. By the year 2020, connection predictions range between 26 and 100 billion. This huge network of devices opens up an unprecedented level of security concerns.
Recent Security Breaches
Newsworthy IoT security breaches are coming to light every few months. If you aren't concerned, consider these recent stories.
Household Appliance Hack
In 2014, a major attack of household appliances included televisions, routers, and even a smart refrigerator. These devices were used to send out more than 750,000 malicious emails.
Medical Device Threat
Last year, Johnson and Johnson reported a suspected threat to 114,000 insulin pumps. The concern was that hackers could change the programmed dosage or disable patient's devices.
Major Botnet Attack
In September of 2017, a botnet called WireX took over more than 120,000 IP addresses, impacting over 100 countries worldwide. It spread through Android devices that had downloaded one of over 300 malicious apps from the Google Play store.
Five Factors Contributing to IoT Security Challenges
If you live in a developed country, you're likely to own one or more connected devices. Being aware of the most common IoT security challenges will help you protect yourself. Here are five of the most common IoT security issues.
Increasing Number of Connected Devices
The more items that are connected, the harder it is to keep them safe. We must now secure our household appliances, wearable devices, vehicles, and other electronics. For every device that is connected, users must consider the potential impact a security breach can have on the entire network.
Lack of Timely Updates
Companies are often apathetic about keeping up with software updates for devices. This is especially true when a newer version has been released. Devices that have not recently been updated are more prone to security breaches as hackers continually find new vulnerabilities.
Users of connected devices often put a greater premium on ease of use than on security. A primary example is the failure to change default settings or create difficult passwords.
Sure, it's convenient to use your voice to tell your smart device what you want it to do, but you must resign yourself to the fact that they're always listening. Even devices that aren't designed to listen, like a television or toaster, now have the potential capability to pick up private conversations.
Privacy and Data Security
Beyond hacking concerns, we must also address the way corporations use the data they collect. Consider, for example, company-issued Fitbits. The additional private data these devices gather, like sleep patterns and GPS location, can be used in unintended ways.
Assess Your Security Risk
Do you have questions about the security of your connected devices? Contact us today for a consultation.