Internet of Things: Major Security Issues and Their Possible Solutions

Internet of things security and privacy issues is one of the hottest topics in the industry. And it is as popular as it is divisive. Although a lot of experts support the development and evolution of connected smart devices, you would be surprised how many tech specialists think that the idea is doomed to fail. Their skepticism is not groundless.

internet of things security and privacy challengeSource: atvill.com

According to surveys, around 50% of companies that use IoT experienced a breach in security in 2017. Furthermore, research shows that 70% of all IoT devices are susceptible to attack. Although this data seems quite pessimistic, the technology still has a lot of potential. There are predictions that the size of the IoT market is going to continue to rise almost exponentially and will be a major source of revenue.

In order to make IoT more secure, we need to be informed about its problems and their solutions. So, here are some of the most common concerns experts have about security and privacy in IoT.

Top 7 IoT Security Issues

1. Lack of a universal standard

In 2018, IoT is still a new and developing industry. Of course, this means that a lot of new and exciting things will happen to it, but it also leads to a chink in its armor. There are hundreds of tech companies that develop smart devices, and each of them has their own protocol and rules for their mutual connection. The lack of a single proper standard makes the task of identifying the breach more difficult. However, this problem definitely can and will be solved in the future.

2. Data transmission safety

With more apps in development for smart devices, more information is being stored on and transmitted to them. This information is often sensitive or can lead to a massive gap in users’ privacy. Of course, solutions to this problem exist. But in some cases, the only way you can protect yourself from this internet of things security and privacy challenge is by being careful and thorough.

3. Data confirmation

Let’s take a look at a hypothetical situation where an untrustworthy person was able to become a part of your IoT network. With a proper skill set, such an individual would be able to send unreliable data to other devices, which could lead to tragic consequences. Lots of security and privacy issues in IoT are connected to an absence of proper authentication methods.

4. Software updates

security and privacy in IoT

Constant updates and improvements of the embedded software are a must not only for security reasons, but for the proper functioning of IoT overall. However, the lack of universal standards discussed earlier can lead to challenges in the development and implementation of new software for every device. This shortage of updates can lead to unpatched holes in the security, which can result in numerous threats.

5. Network size management

The more devices you connect, the harder it is to keep track of each of them separately. This especially concerns gadgets that are physically far away from each other. This problem is hard to solve. You can’t stop the development and expansion of your network. However, if there are too many devices, you may not ever know when one of them has been hacked.

6. Hardware security

internet of things security and privacy issues

Smart devices had been here long before the idea of IoT even appeared. However, now that we are connecting these devices, we need to pay more attention to the security of their hardware. A lot of manufacturers have voiced their concerns about the issues of outdated technology and their impact on security.

As the internet evolves, the hackers evolve as well. There are multiple ways a proficient technician can break into a network of connected devices if they have access to mass-produced flawed hardware. That’s why you should not focus exclusively on software and data transfers.

7. Lack of specialists

Another complication that arises from the industry being so young is that there aren’t that many IoT security experts. It can be argued that there are many people who know about each device separately, and there are specialists who know how to connect them. Nonetheless, there are not many people who are familiar with all the problems mentioned above. And there are even fewer professionals who know how to solve them.

As with the first item on this list, this problem will be solved if the industry continues to grow. Still, experts are key to IoT, and without them this branch of IT will wither.

How to Make IoT Better Protected

1. Use of encryption protocols

If you don’t want your data to be intercepted during transfer, make sure to use protocols that encrypt it. Most developers already use protocols with built-in encryption, but it never hurts to double check. If the gadget sends your data to the web, make sure it implements SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and HTTPS protocol.

2. Device verification

Authentication of devices and the data they send is one of the most helpful and effective IoT security solutions. For example, by equipping every device with an encrypted key before each session, you reduce the chance of your network being hacked to almost zero. Furthermore, in this way you take care of the privacy issue – only the sender and the recipient have the key to all of the data.

In order for the verification to work properly, you have to make sure that every device is certified and legal. Third-party shady manufacturers sometimes leave a “back door” to their products. No authentication can help with such a gap in the defense.

3. Use of analytics

The more information about your network you have, the better your security is. The more frequent and thorough your analysis of it is, the better your chance of catching a breach early on. Obviously, if you have a lot of devices in your network, it is hard to watch all of them at once. That’s why there are a number of tools that can help you to deal with the abundance of data.

In addition, you or the specialist you hire should always be aware of the recent achievements both in the development of the newest IoT security measures and in the ways to get around those measures. Without such knowledge, you may not be able to identify the breach until it’s too late.

4. Regular hardware and software tests

security and privacy issues in IoT

Modern hardware is often composed of many components made by many manufacturers. In order to be sure that all the components make up a safe device, the product should be tested after the assembly. More often than not it is, but then again, it never hurts to double-check. You can find instructions on how to check your device online or ask the manufacturer to provide them.

Testing the security of both your hardware and your software is helpful in understanding whether you need to upgrade them or not. Frequent audits will result in an effective elimination of problems connected to the aging of your tech.

5. Development of secure apps

Even the smallest faulty link in the IoT can lead to a complete teardown of carefully set up security. That’s why you should pay close attention not only to the software that connects your devices, but to any other software you install with it. All the apps should be created with an understanding of the specifics of the internet of things.

We are not at the point where you can install any app you want on any smart device out there. Be careful with what you use and how you use it. Even if the app seems completely safe and trustworthy, try not to disclose any specific or personal information, use firewalls, etc.

Conclusion

This list of IoT security issues and solutions is not exhaustive. You can find many other examples of both, and a lot more will appear with the evolution of the technology. As with most new industries, it is hard to keep track of all the newest developments in security, especially if you’re not an expert in the field.

That’s where we come in. If you want to set up a secure and stable connection between smart devices for your startup, we’re ready to help you. Reach out to us and we will provide an evaluation of your project for free!