As defined in Gemalto’s IoT Guidebook, the Internet of Things (IoT) describes the era in which devices are able to communicate within the existing Internet infrastructure, providing insight and control over elements in connected lives. With an estimated 50 billion connected devices estimated to be deployed across the globe by 2020, IoT is quickly becoming a lifestyle for many. And this means it is also opening the door to new security risks.
New security threats
While the IoT is meant to make our lives easier and helps to bring all of our devices together, could it actually be creating more security vulnerabilities in our daily lives? As IoT takes over, the security aspect of it will require a great deal of thought, planning, coordination and action.
To begin, device manufacturers have concerns that their equipment will be involved in a network intrusion as a result of incorporating it into the IoT system. This, however, is just a start—any device added to the IoT system becomes a potential entry point for cyber attacks. Security researchers have already demonstrated their ability to hack a car and remotely manipulate its braking system, as well as the eerie prospect of overtaking intravenous devices and altering dosages of medicine delivered to patients. Enterprises have always had concerns about rogue wireless access points, and they don’t want to see the incoming horde of connected IoT devices become similarly unsafe endpoints.
In addition, the huge scale of the IoT justifiably sparks fear in most technology and security professionals. For each device that is added to the IoT system, there are different uses, different vendors, different generations and different capabilities, all of which make security more difficult to monitor. Knowing where vulnerabilities exist across a handful of smartphone varieties pales in comparison to keeping tabs on the status of thousands of different sensors, cameras, remotes and other machines. Many of these devices will never receive a single update from the manufacturer as time goes on, so patches aren’t an option to help address emerging threats.
Preparing for the future of IoT
While the good news is the number of IoT hacks are not nearly as dramatic as the media would make you think, it is important to be vigilant and start preparing for what is expected to be one of the biggest industry threats of 2015 and beyond. Currently, the two most notable items that have been hacked with malicious attempt are webcams and TVs. As devices continued to be added to the IoT system, keep the following tips in mind to ensure that you are protecting yourself from smart device attacks:
- Change your router password to prevent easy access into your network.
- Hide your routers and devices.
- Do not connect all your accounts when prompted during initial signup.
- Avoid using common information on security questions—if necessary, make up answers that are not actually true.
- Update your devices when prompted.
The Internet of Things can help make life easier and more connected; however, it is important to be aware of the potential security threats that may go hand in hand with IoT. What tips do you give others when it comes to IoT?