Companies are striving for digital transformation. The need for greater connectivity and adoption of IoT is matched only by the growth of cybercriminals. These criminals include both masterminds as well as crime-as-a service purchasers. Their main goal is to exploit IoT devices with the ultimate goal of attacking the entire company. IoT devices could be compromised to leak data or harm operations, deny service or infiltrate an organization’s IT network.
Their increasing numbers – currently, they are at 27.5 billion devices and 75 billion respectively – makes it crucial to secure communications and adopt IoT security solutions.
According to a recent survey, 61 percent of IoT-enabled businesses use it to boost their operations. 28 percent of businesses were also affected by cyberattacks due to IoT infrastructure. This is a result of the fact that threats to IoT devices have tripled in the past year.
These data and findings were based on extensive research conducted in collaboration with Infiniti Research. Infiniti Research is a leading provider of market intelligence solutions to industry leaders.
Organizations must stay on top of IoT developments to benefit from the cost and operational benefits.
If not considered at the design stage, cyber security can be a barrier to IoT deployment and, in some cases, a hindrance to large-scale remote operations. Both the hardware as well as the software must be protected.
Other IT networks and connected devices, such as mobile phones, servers, laptops and other devices, are often treated as an afterthought to help close security gaps.
However, IoT devices are simple in software and hardware and allow for large-scale data sharing between applications and systems. This can be a disadvantage that could lead to an organization’s downfall.
We will discuss the top factors that make IoT device safety a concern, and the importance of taking action to fix it.
- IoT devices are becoming more and more important. This is due to their efficiency, user-friendliness and automation capabilities, as well as the time and money-saving benefits. Moreover, the IoT world opens new business models for organizations, monetizing on data-as-a-service, product-as-a-service, and process-as-a-service.These new business models lean on digital transformation that has resulted in the need for increased connectivity and technologies – such as 5G, AI, and machine learning – and the increased adoption of IoT especially in communications, finance, hospitality, and healthcare.Furthermore, the global telecom industry depends on IoT adoption to monetize 4G and accelerate 5G adoption to realize business goals, while the automotive sector relies on IoT to advance connected vehicles operation and capabilities.
- Data breaches are on the rise – Cybercriminals have more options to launch zero-day attacks against connected devices, such as smart TVs and routers. These attacks can cause inconvenience, loss of privacy and even shutdowns. These are not just brand damage and legal liability issues. Nor do they consider regulatory fines. This incident raised awareness about IoT device security, and created demand for better security software.
The following are the top IoT security concerns as identified by 2020 Thales Data Threat Report:
- Privacy violations due to IoT device generated data-26 percent
- 33 percent of critical operations may be affected by attacks on IoT devices
- 27 percent of IoT devices are lost or stolen
- Manufacturers are not providing product updates To speed up time to market, manufacturers spend less time testing and securing devices. Manufacturers have been forced to use the ecosystems of their hosts to develop programming protocols. This has resulted in a loss of synchronization between platforms and a limitation on developers’ ability create a universal security protocol. Hackers now have multiple platforms to access devices and steal data.
- IoT device security has many vulnerabilities. This is due to fewer manufacturer updates and default passwords. Due to the wide range of transmission technologies, it is difficult to follow standard protocols, leaving IoT devices exposed and defenseless in unsecure networks.
An increase in attacks on blockchain-based apps has also been observed. Social engineering is used to extract usernames, passwords, and other information.
Although some IoT device security companies are working to identify threats and match them with endpoint security products to minimize vulnerabilities, they can’t offer total security against hackers as the technology needs to be patched, tested, and updated regularly.
Market Trends in a Optimistic Future
There are many technologies and approaches to IoT security.
- Blockchain is growing – This distributed, decentralized technology allows for direct information sharing among connected devices. It monitors data collected by sensors and allows them to transmit data without the need to duplicate it. For instance, IBM has introduced a new supply-chain service that uses its blockchain platform to help developers combine data into the distributed ledger using an API. End-users can securely integrate data from IoT sensors onto the hyperledger.
- The use of AI in IoT security has increased.AI can help safeguard assets, reduce fraud and support analytics. It also allows for automated decision-making in IoT apps. Machine learning can be used for monitoring incoming and outgoing traffic to IoT devices in order to create a profile that determines normal behavior of IoT ecosystem. This helps detect potential threats via unusual behavior patterns. To detect DoS and DDoS attacks, aerospace and defense companies combine IoT, AI and cloud infrastructure.
- IoT security must be network-based. This is essential for all aspects of personal and enterprise security. It is nearly impossible to guarantee the highest level security for all devices due to the number of manufacturers and the variety of devices that may be found in the same environment. It is important to secure everything at the network level so that no threats can reach devices. Additionally, manufacturers can upgrade their virtual SIMs with security applets directly from the network.
There are many ways to address the security gaps in IoT deployments. We can expect to see an increasing number of companies offering IoT cybersecurity solutions at all levels, including communication and network.
Already, cybersecurity companies are expanding their offerings to address IoT specificities. Leading software and device manufacturers are also taking a security-oriented stance and trying to incorporate it into their products.
While the United States and Australia have recently passed national laws and regulations, they do not provide organizations with the tools necessary to fully protect themselves.
Vendors are also playing a game with threat actors. They only cover one entry point and leave others open. Methodologically, organizations that adopt a security-first, network based approach to IoT deployments and networks have the advantage of flexibility, scalability and being device agnostic. This allows them to increase their security position in an ever-evolving threat environment.
Security can be made simple by using IoT devices. Threat actors cannot use them.
FirstPoint Mobile Guard Infiniti Research will release the full FirstPoint Mobile Guard-Infiniti Research Report in September. It will include IoT security market trends and size.
Adam Weinberg, Founder & CTO, FirstPoint Mobile Guard (www.firstpoint-mg.com), applies his extensive executive R&D experience in communications intelligence and cyber technologies in shaping FirstPoint solutions, which secure any SIM device, anywhere, against cellular network-specific attacks, app-free and without user intervention.