In recent years, the popularity of the Internet of Things (IoT) technology has been expanding. So much so that its global market size is projected to reach $1.842 billion by 2028. An impressive number, isn’t it?
Naturally, as the market expands, so does the amount of IoT devices present in the world. According to Statista, the number is forecast to practically triple from 8.74 billion in 2020 to 25.4 billion in 2030.
With these positive-looking estimates, the demand for IoT app development is bound to grow too. After all, companies are eager to leverage emerging technologies that can help their businesses prosper.
However, it’s imperative for organizational leaders to understand that despite the vast benefits the Internet of Things may deliver, the growth of connected devices can also pose a security challenge.
So, that’s the subject we will focus on today. Specifically, we’ll cover the most common IoT security concerns and ways of reducing them so that your company can follow the requirements and pursue development in the safest way possible.
Top 6 IoT Security Challenges Business Leaders Should Be Aware Of
Let us preface this section by saying that there is a lot of good that can come from implementing the Internet of Things technology across all kinds of industries. It can improve productivity, enhance the quality of services, and even reduce operational costs.
Thus, it’s no surprise that IoT adoption is growing within vastly different business sectors. For example, healthcare organizations are relying on IoMT solutions to refine the patient experience. Similarly, manufacturing companies are embracing IIoT software to automate internal processes.
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However, as is the case with any emerging technology, there are risks that come with developing IoT-powered software. Typically, these challenges are security-related due to the many devices that communicate via the Internet and thus create new opportunities for cyberattacks.
So, let’s take a look at the six most common IoT security problems you might face.
1. Technology Novelty
Given the novelty of IoT technology, most users are largely unaware of the cyber security best practices that should be followed. While the majority of people working in the modern world know how to safeguard their computers and smartphones, very few can say the same about IoT gadgets they might come into contact with.
For instance, employees in firms that purchase IoT-enabled software might be unaware of how to use it securely. Thus, making them excellent targets for hackers who want to compromise the integrity of an IoT solution and use it for their own gains.
Given that the human factor can’t really be avoided, it’s imperative for businesses to educate their employees on how to use IoT-powered devices and the corresponding software. That way, IoT security risks will be minimized, and you can go on reaping the benefits of innovation without over worrying about it being threatened.
2. Outdated Operating Systems
Another common IoT security challenge stems from the fact that connected devices aren’t always running on the most up-to-date version of an operating system. This happens when manufacturers or custom hardware engineering companies don’t regularly update the software after it’s been launched. Or, only provide updates for a short period of time.
Unsurprisingly, as time passes, system vulnerabilities emerge. If they aren’t swiftly tackled by a thorough OS update, malware and various cyberattacks can quickly infiltrate and threaten the stability of your solution.
Thus, it’s essential for operating systems of IoT devices to be regularly updated so that new security risks can be prevented.
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3. Lack of Built-In Security in Devices
Unfortunately, IoT devices usually come without integrated security measures in place. There are no built-in antivirus programs or encryption protocols to protect the system. Needless to say, this increases the chances of malware and ransomware infiltration, data theft, and other IoT security issues that companies want to avoid.
Hence, consider relying on the power of cryptography to safeguard the sensitive information you process. Or, embrace innovative technology like blockchain to prevent data tampering and have the ability to quickly shut down compromised devices in an IoT network.
Check out how we built a Blockchain-Based Intrusion-Detection System
4. Unreliable Deployment Locations
Often, IoT devices are deployed in public places and remote locations that might be easy for an attacker to physically access. This poses a significant IoT security risk since the gadgets can be tampered with once they’re installed.
For example, the memory card might be removed and its contents investigated to gather information that can help facilitate future remote attacks. Or, a USB drive with malware can be inserted to threaten the security of the entire IoT solution.
Thus, it’s important to work with manufacturers who build highly secure sensors and transmitters. Make sure to ask how exactly a device’s physical security is ensured. Additionally, if possible, instruct employees or end-users at the location to monitor the devices and limit easy access to them.
5. Use of Default Passwords
Another major threat to IoT security is the use of default passwords provided by device manufacturers. Typically, constructors will ship the hardware with rather simple login details, and consumers may not remember to actually change them.
Of course, this makes devices vulnerable to brute-force attacks and general hacking attempts. So, if you want to avoid this IoT security problem, make sure all employees adhere to strict passcode management policies and avoid weak password combinations.
Additionally, consider using various SSH security features and limiting logins for specific IP addresses and IP ranges. These IoT security standards ought to help you minimize risks and use your solution without fear for its safety.
6. Botnet Attack Potential
The last IoT software security threat that we’ll discuss today are botnet attacks. You see, one connected device that’s infected with malware might not pose an enormous threat. However, an ensemble of them can bring down an entire network.
Given that IoT devices are Internet-connected, they’re ideally suited for botnet strikes that leverage compromised gadgets to perform DDoS attacks, gain access to confidential information, or carry out other malicious activity.
To avoid facing this type of problem, it’s important to keep your infrastructure up-to-date, monitor network usage to spot unusual activity, keep track of failed login attempts, and generally adhere to IoT security best practices.
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Why IoT Projects are Still Worth the Effort
Having gone through the common security issues and risks in the Internet of Things, you might be getting hesitant about implementing IoT platforms. You could be asking yourself, is it even worth the trouble? Well, the short answer is — it can be.
As we’ve mentioned, key players across a wide range of industries are already developing IoT software. No surprise, considering the extensive benefits it can deliver.
For instance, IoT in healthcare is particularly prevalent through the use of wearables, hearables, ingestible sensors, and other connected devices that improve the monitoring of a patient’s wellbeing.
In insurance, IoT technology is on its way to becoming a go-to when assessing risks more precisely. Namely, in auto insurance, creditworthiness can be better determined by looking at driver behavior data acquired from a vehicle’s connected sensors.
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Finally, manufacturers are also growing increasingly interested in industrial IoT solutions, despite the potential security challenges. Specifically, they choose to leverage connected devices to monitor assets, manage the supply chain, and even develop innovative new products. All in all, there are plenty of opportunities for IoT in manufacturing.
As you can see, the advantages of IoT are ample, and as long as security risks are addressed and approached seriously, investing in this technology can certainly be a worthy endeavor.
How to Reduce IoT Security Issues
Now that we’ve established the value of IoT app development and smart device engineering, it’s time to discuss how you can minimize the likelihood of having to face security issues. Unfortunately, there’s no universal solution or a quick-fix.
Hence, you’ll need to follow some of these best practices:
- Conduct regular checks and update your IoT devices regularly
- Change default passwords immediately and create strong passcode combinations
- Monitor network and device behavior to spot suspicious activity
- Apply network segmentation to have separate networks for IoT devices and visitor connections
- Enable two-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized access
- Develop an enterprise-wide IoT security plan to mitigate any potential threats
Another option for reducing the risk of threats to your organization is relying on machine learning (ML) algorithms. Thanks to ML’s ability to scan and analyze enormous amounts of data, it can swiftly monitor all devices in your network, shut down impending attacks, and alert your IT team of any suspicious activity in seconds.
Moreover, ML in IoT has the power to compare historical network behaviors with past attack attempts. Thus, helping predict future threats and take preemptive action before any real danger is posed.
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Finally, to reduce the likelihood of any security issues when dealing with connected devices, it’s always a good idea to start your project by leveraging IoT consulting services and collaborate with reliable companies only.
That is to say, only rely on trusted manufacturers and software development partners who have a long history of delivering successful IoT projects. That way, you’ll always be confident about the security of your solution.
Minimize IoT Security Issues and Embrace Modern Technology
Today we have seen that IoT devices come with various security challenges that can threaten the functioning of an organization. However, there are ways to mitigate such risks and make the most of IoT technology while bypassing the common issues.
Of course, managing new IT projects in parallel with running your business can be highly overwhelming and, at times, simply not feasible. For that reason, Velvetech is happy to provide companies with a range of IoT development services.
Having spent years delivering successful IoT projects, we know how to build systems that adhere to stringent security standards and requirements. So, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team to discuss a potential collaboration.