Internet of Things, referred to as IoT nowadays is a technical implementation of devices that are connected to the internet. The internet has taken over almost every aspect of our lives. With the low rates (€€) of connectivity and devices with built in Wi-Fi, it’s no wonder connecting devices with each other or to Internet is taking over the world. Anything with an on and off button can now have remote access through Internet. These devices range from kitchen and laundry appliances to wearable devices such as your watch. People seem to forget sensors that can be placed anywhere in the world, to protect dikes, sewer systems and road systems. In this article we’ll talk about applicances, but we’ll mainly look into the security concerns.
These devices integration mechanisms have made life easier for us and have given a whole new meaning to efficient Time Management. For example, your alarm clock wakes you up while ordering your coffee machine to start brewing. Your car has access to your calendar and knowing you have a meeting, takes the shortest route to your destination. A practial implementation would be (small) boats in Amsterdam that are ‘protected’ from sinking, because the owner (or harbor service) will be notified if there’s water in the boat. These are small examples of IoT.
Why Security of Internet of Things is a Serious Concern?
With anything related to Internet, security becomes and should become your top priority. Internet is a system prone to hacking and cybercrimes, so anything that is being run through Internet faces the same threat. With more devices connected together, we have offered more vectors for hackers and cyber criminals to attack. Several incidents have happened that should be an eye opener for us and the government as well. IoT baby monitors have been hacked to manipulate the live feed. Internet connected cars have beared the main brunt of these crimes, where hackers managed to control the entertainment system of the cars as well as opened their locks. This is an alarming situation that has been addressed by different companies and governments alike, which is a positive development in this regard.
What Steps are to be taken?
The one major step to be taken is to secure/encrypt the connection from/to gateways through which these IoT connect with the companies’ database. The connection to the gateways are the most vulnerable points to these attacks so it is imperative to make them secure. It is important for the device manufacturers as well as the users to know about following things:
- What kind of data is being stored and transmitted?
- Where it is being stored?
- With whom it is being shared?
- How data is being transmitted and received?
Once you have good knowledge about these facts, you can formulate security measures against any mishandling. Another aspect you should consider is the destination of your data. By all means, the data should be encrypted from the sensor or device onwards, so at no point the data can be modified or copied.
IT Professionals and IoT Security Concerns
The offenders can always find loopholes in the security system of new technologies and manipulate it. Likewise, the security agencies have devised measures to counter such attacks. So the companies and designers of IoT should put their heads together to formulate foolproof security mechanisms. Moreover, the security of these devices should be accessible to the common end user.
Internet of Things is something that has penetrated deep into our lives and into our homes. So if security of anything is important, it’s IoT.