If businesses don't take IoT security serious, the potential for attackers to gain access to and manipulate delicate information could have disastrous consequences.
IoT adoption is growing rapidly, according to a Statista report, about 75 billion devices are estimated to be plugged into the internet worldwide by the year 2025. These devices, however, are as threatening as they are beneficial if left unsecure. In the event of a security breach, nationwide infrastructures could be infiltrated with disastrous outcomes.
Reports of IoT security breaches are very rampant as a result of smart plugs enabling the execution of arbitrary code remotely, streaming of unencrypted data by video doorbells, , storage of unencrypted home Wi-Fi network passwords by smart home devices, industrial control systems breached by attackers to manipulate equipment remotely and so on.
Governments all over the globe are well aware of the inherent threats posed by unsecure IoT devices, they are actively executing various procedures to curb the causes and effects of cyberattacks on IoT systems. Australia for instance, implemented a draft voluntary code of practice earlier in the year for security in the IoT ecosystem. This code consists of 13 draft principles and includes but is not limited to guidelines on reducing exposed attack surfaces, maintaining software integrity and enacting a vulnerability disclosure policy. Its goal is to protect sensitive data and foster resilience in the IoT ecosystem.
The following are requirements for secure IoT communication:
The conventional way to ensure network security has always been to apply stringent access controls and presume safety from within the network. However, this is evidently a wrong presumption. The zero-trust approach on the other hand switches blind trust with strong cryptographic measures and verification. Zero trust does not provide any special status to the network and assumes it the same as the public internet.
A rudimentary need of industrial or personal communications systems is to ensure that data transmitted over the network cannot be intercepted by a third party. All data should be encrypted from end to end from its origin point to it destination using effective cryptographic keys.
It is expedient that a hacker is unable to alter messages. Such actions should be recognized by the network. Hash-based message authentication and other effective cryptographic measures can be utilized to maintain data integrity.
It is essential for third parties to be unaware of or be able to decipher the channels (e.g. number of devices) by which data is transmitted or the assigned identity for transmissions. This prevents meta data attack and can be achieved by applying cryptographic methods.
With the capacity to integrate a plethora of devices, an IoT system needs to be scalable to ensure its continued effectiveness success and maintain its security. IoT ecosystem needs to supply infrastructure for explosive growth while fostering low-cost implementation and lower power.
Security must become an integral element of the IoT ecosystem and IoT adoption, otherwise, attackers will progressively gain access to extremely incredibly sensitive enterprise, national personal data with disastrous repercussions. The ramifications are grave, it is therefore expedient that the IoT ecosystem implements policies like the draft code of practice. The resources and know-how to ensure a secure IoT ecosystem are readily available, however, the synergy to apply them to achieve set objectives is required.
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Olamide is a technology consultant with cognate experience providing digital transformation services for small and large-scale clients globally. With a focus on emerging technologies like IoT, Extended Reality, Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence, he has spent three years developing numerous articles on these knowledge areas for different platforms online and offline.
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