The Internet of Things (IoT) is a relatively new concept in technology and relates to the connectivity of practical every device in the world. While we traditionally see the internet as being limited to laptops, tablets, smartphones, and similar devices, there is an increasing trend towards connecting other things, such as cars, security systems, and even items of clothing to the internet in some fashion. Don’t believe us? According to Cisco, there will be 50 billion devices on the planet that connect to the internet by 2020.
This enhanced connectivity offers many advantages, but it also presents greater security risks. After all, if everything you own is connected to the internet, you provide malicious parties with more opportunities to access personal data.
With that in mind, we have compiled a short list of security concerns that need to be considered as society continues to embrace the IoT.
Embrace the IoT
One of the key security concerns revolving around the IoT is that many people either don’t realize it is a concept or don’t recognize the security issues it presents in the first place. Awareness fosters progress and people must embrace the concept of the IoT because it is happening as we speak.
As businesses look for ways to evolve in line with their customer’s needs, they may look to adapt current hardware to fit into the IoT paradigm. While this is certainly admirable, consideration must be placed on the fact that older devices were not designed with the security risks of the IoT in mind. As such, this effort to update them may also present additional security issues, meaning the software and hardware used in the updating efforts must offer adequate protections.
Devices Degrade Over Time
In a related point, even devices designed with the IoT concept in mind are susceptible to the same issue that affects all technology. In short, as technologies and protocol evolve, devices using old software become more vulnerable. Exploits are discovered and new ways to gain access to previously secure devices place them at risk. As such, developers must stay cognizant of the fact that whatever they ship to consumers needs to be constantly maintained with updates and patches to protect against the ever-changing face of cyber-crime.
Another key concern is that many current IoT devices can be impersonated and thus used for malicious purposes. Identify theft thus becomes a concern in much the same way that it is for credit cards. Without proper protection, IoT devices may become vulnerable to hacking networks that can impersonate the device and use it for purposes beyond what the owner actually intends.
Always Think Ahead
So this all creates the question of what should developers do to ensure devices remain protected? The simple answer, though it is far less simple in execution, is to think ahead and incorporate security measures into all software and devices created under the IoT paradigm. A reactionary approach does not protect users from the initial security vulnerability, so creators must anticipate potential security concerns as they arise and continually provide patches and updates to stay ahead of the game.