IoT Overcoming Security Challenges
For the Internet of Things (IoT) to achieve its full potential, there are a number of challenges to be overcome, not least being that of keeping networks and the connected smart devices secure.
In this article, we take a look at the problem in a little more detail.
There has been something of land grab occurring over the last year or two, with the giants of Amazon and Google jostling for position at the head of the queue to become the main provider of the devices that will populate the world’s IoT networks. It is reckoned that there will be in excess of 10 billion connected devices in existence as soon as the year 2020. From baby monitors to traffic monitors, the digital network is expected to awash with this kind of hardware.
More Devices, More Opportunity
The problem that this explosion in IoT brings to the table is that each and every device that’s connected to the network presents another opportunity for the hacker to target. It could be that a malicious attack is attempting to take control of the device or that stealing your data is the purpose. In either sense, there is a very real and present danger of unauthorised access to anything linked to the internet.
A decade ago, all we had to worry about was a PC or laptop behind a firewall. Five years later, we had to start to consider the security of our ever more sophisticated smartphones. With the advent of IoT however, we now have to consider protecting everything that’s plugged into our network, which could include our central heating, our lighting or even wearable tech.
A hacker that gains entry into your network can cause untold havoc in your life, as they could potentially remotely turn your cooker on or accelerate your car. We can even be spied on by someone with the skills to do so, as there are many devices that contain cameras, like smart TVs, baby monitors and laptops.
These numerous vulnerabilities mean that security is paramount, as failure to keep the hackers out will turn something that’s meant to revolutionise the way we live into something akin to leaving your front door open when you leave the house.
Anyone who’s ever owned a computer will be aware of the concept of periodic software updates, which are necessary to maintain security and react to the latest threats. For IoT devices to be secure, a similar amount of updates will be required, which is a worry, as the average consumer views updates as nothing more than an inconvenience and something that’s to be avoided wherever possible.
Firmware updates provided by the manufacturers are also not guaranteed to be available, with support being withdrawn when a device of a certain age is superseded by a newer one – something that necessitates buying new hardware that is supported. A consistent level of security will be needed in the new IoT world if we aren’t to be plagued with hacker attacks making our lives a misery.
The security challenges faced by the industry in the coming years are complex, but must be overcome if the concept is to be considered to be a universally viable one. The innate issues that arise when everything is connected to the internet represent a mountain that must be scaled if big industry is to adopt the concept on a wide scale basis.
That eventually is surely just a matter of time and there’s little doubt that these challenges will be overcome, but a it will surely be an ongoing war of attrition, between security providers and the hackers.