The Internet of Things (IoT) has created an all-new ecosystem of high-performance apps and connected devices that are a whole lot different than the traditional centralized infrastructure of systems we are most used to.

The new ecosystem of robust cross-device, cross-format apps and hybrid connected devices witnesses a gigantic, seamless exchange of data through a cloud and wireless environment.

While IoT looks very much in line to provide numerous benefits to businesses as well as home users alike, it also brings quite a few security risks that are considerable and daunting enough to be undermined.  

Unlike desktop PCs, the Internet of Things is embedded systems that have certain protocols, which differ to a large extent from devices to devices and apps to apps. As of now, there’s nothing like a unified central system for which we can develop some security systems, which means the number of security concerns will increase exponentially with the increase in data exchange volume.

How can the IoT ecosystem be vulnerable to security threats?

In a conventional system architecture, hacking, malware, viruses, etc. are the most widely used penetration attacks. Whereas in IoT, cyber attacks are more focused on activities like eavesdropping, identity theft, device manipulation, device theft, etc.

Once compromised, an Internet of Things (IoT) architecture can pose a severe threat to the data integrity of an enterprise and even – to the personal lives of individuals. For example, an individual can be easily stalked by breaking into his/her fitness devices.

A perimeter defense system based on the Internet of Things can be easily hacked to get unauthorized access to the classified sections of an organization. Flaws in IoT systems can be cashed in by cybercriminals to cause severe harm to an individual or a business entity.

In general, IoT security can be humbled in 3 types:

Theft:

  • Device theft
  • Data theft from a device through eavesdropping
  • Theft of intellectual property

Fraud:

  • Identity theft for authenticating user access
  • Faking of device credentials for breaking into data repositories or servers

Manipulation:

  • Manipulating data in data or clients, servers, routers, devices, etc.
  • Manipulating actuator system actions
  • Forcing system freezes and crashes for sabotaging the complete function (For instance: IoT smart office security systems)

4 ways to reinforce IoT security

Though the security concerns associated with IoT deployment are quite complex and scary, we can devise a safety net using advanced security practices to ensure maximum safety possible. Here’re the top 4 ways in which IoT security can be strengthened:

1.Data Encryption

Data encryption is no novelty, it has been one of the most widely used security approach across different technologies and platforms. In IoT, device authentication must be done and the sensitive data can be encrypted before exchange.

Encryption makes sure that the information is deciphered and made inaccessible in its original form, which can limit the odds of your information being decoded by hackers.

In addition, device authentication makes sure that the manipulation of a device is prevented, which can avoid the security concerns of autonomous control. IoT application development companies must ensure their apps make the best use of latest data encryption provisions to vouch for improved safety.

2.Code Signing Certificates

Code sign certificates are, basically, similar to digital signatures that make sure only validated code is permitted to run on a device. Nobody, other than the editor, has the permission to corrupt or edit the code.

The IoT infrastructure, particularly those devices that run on independent platforms, can be given another safety shield by using code sign certificates.

3.Safety on the device

As per forecast by Cisco, the number of connected device will cross 1bn by 2020. It clearly means there will be 1bn+ pain points that can be used by hackers to break into our IoT systems.

With no centralized control for securing these devices, we’re left with the only option to strengthen security at the device-end, itself.  

4.Security on the cloud

Cloud is the lifeline for IoT and, therefore, the cloud server becomes the second most important perimeter defense point to prevent cyber assaults.

At present, there are numerous cloud security provisions available in the market that can be fine-tuned according to the specific needs of a business to safeguard IoT environment.

Security concerns will never really end, and their intensity is surely going to increase in the next couple of years, given that hackers are constantly in quest of upgrading their skills to tackle emerging technologies.

The IoT wave will only make them stronger and therefore the threat of personal identity theft and data loss is grave. Individual users as well as enterprises must, therefore, adopt adequate security measures to neutralize IoT cybersecurity risks.