IoT in Cybersecurity

IoT on Cybersecurity

With the IoT landscape rapidly changing on a month-to-month basis, new job titles will be created, whose role will be to ensure the security of the data of IoT networks and the protection of individual privacy. The data gathered by thousands of IoT devices are highly sensitive and directly affects corporate decisions. Breaches of these datasets can and have resulted in social, economic, and diplomatic damage. There are standard measures every security team managing IoT environments should follow in order to lay the groundwork for preventing such detrimental security breaches.

IoT and the importance of mass data

The fundamental purpose of IoT can be described as “knowledge management.” This means utilizing large amounts of gathered information, in order to make informed decisions. Electronic sensors are fitted with SIM cards, which enables them to connect a network. These networks may be the same ones, as used by your average smartphone user (i.e. 3G, 4G, 4.5G or 5G), or they may be dedicated connectivity protocols, that were specifically designed for IoT use (such as LoRaWAN®, LTE-M, NB-IoT or other so-called LPWANs).  Nevertheless, these sensors transmit information about their immediate surroundings and communicate with each other. This data is then stored on a cloud, where it is processed in analytical AI engines that form logical deductions based on these large datasets.

Data breaches in IoT

While the corruption of data by a single sensor may not affect these deductions, the collective data gathered by multiple sensors is very sensitive and will significantly affect the AI decision-making process. If this confidential business data is hacked, there are various scenarios in which this will cause companies to suffer massive losses. As such, cloud protection is a serious concern for many companies as hackers will exploit any temporary loophole in the IoT environment’s software (or individual sensors’ firmware) in order to attain unauthorized access to these datasets.

As the number of IoT devices will grow exponentially in the coming years, so will the demand of web developers and cybersecurity experts, who will need to prevent and handle such threats. There are three fundamental challenges security experts will need to deal with when managing any IoT ecosystem:

  • Ensuring device security
  • Ensuring data security
  • Protecting an individual’s privacy

Unauthorized access to IoT ecosystems can lead to significant social, economic and even diplomatic disruptions

  • The aftermath of these attacks – what hackers will do with the stolen information – can never be predicted, and loss mitigation is typically very challenging. The loss of valuable, private information, such as bank details and passwords, can be used to conduct various types of bank scams resulting in significant economic damage.
  • Cyber attacks will not only directly damage companies economically, but they may also severely damage a company’s reputation as a trustful entity.  Customers of a company that has suffered a major data breach may not have faith in putting their private information in the hands of such a company. As a result, they will likely cancel service contracts and switch to competitors. Often-times these indirect, long-term consequences from the hack are more severe than the immediate economic suffering through stolen funds.
  • If an employee of a company has failed to manage customer data correctly, resulting in a data leak, this person may be held legally liable for their mistakes.
  • If the stolen data is private information of people from a country, and the affected company is based in another country, the breach may escalate on an international level, resulting in increased diplomatic tensions between several countries.

Effective standard measures to prevent security breaches of IoT ecosystems and their individual devices

  • Identifying all potential firmware and software threats, so loopholes can be anticipated and prevented, as well as damage mitigation being initiated faster in case a breach was detected.
  • Providing restricted data access to employees increases security, as the likelihood of breaches initiated internally is decreased.
  • Actively monitoring individual device logs in order to identify any type of malicious or suspicious activity conducted on or by a device.
  • Frequently backing up data and regular software updates can also prevent the exploitation of loopholes created by outdated software or firmware versions.

IoT in Cybersecurity

  • IoT Networks typically operate on a large scale and rely on massive data sets gathered by thousands of sensors.
  • AI then analyzes this data in order to make logical deductions.
  • The collective data of these sensors is often highly confidential and forms the basis of crucial business decisions.
  • Thus, potential data breaches can have detrimental social, economic, and diplomatic consequences.
  • Alongside the increased demand for IoT devices, we will also see an increased demand for cybersecurity experts that specialize in ensuring data security, device security & individual privacy.
  • The prevention measures IoT security experts should follow are similar to the ones conducted by conventional IT security professionals.