Cyber Security

How is the Internet of Things (IoT) affecting security?

It may sound very promising to know that IoT will become part of our lives and help us live more comfortable and enjoyable experiences. Having a smart home would not only make your home look cool, but also have a significant impact, such as reducing electricity bills as a result of features such as intelligent lighting. Healthcare devices would also make it easier to have a more in-depth and fuller look at one’s own heath.  

As appealing as IoT sounds, however, it’s quite concerning that IoT development is connected with very little control in terms of security and privacy despite being so reliant on the internet. Besides, it’s clear that IoT devices are fitted with sensors for the collection, analysis, and storage of data. Handling of such data puts it at risk, hence several security issues as discussed below: 

IoT Security issues:

Some of the main security issues related to IoT development include the following: 

  1. Vulnerability to hacking

Hackers are always advancing as technology advances. They come up with new methods of gaining unauthorized entry into systems that were thought to be the safest. With enough time an effort, it almost a guarantee that a dedicated hacker could gain access to the IoT system of their choice.  

Take, for example, the case where researchers from the University of Michigan combined efforts with researchers from Microsoft, and found several vulnerabilities in Samsung’s SmartThings Platform.*  

Such a security issue becomes even more complicated once you consider how connected IoT-enabled devices are. With the ever-increasing connection of IoT-enabled devices, hackers have multiple points of entry, making hacking a reality.  

  1. Unwanted public profiling

We’ve all agreed to terms of service at one point or another. The only problem is that we don’t always go through the lengthy information in its entirety. But the worrying reality is that some companies can decide to use collected data that is willingly offered by the customer to do things such as making employment decisions. Take, for example, a situation whereby an insurance company might decide to use your driving habits information from a connected car to calculate your insurance rate. That’s just one of the multiple possible unwanted public profiling cases.  

  1. Consumer confidence

It’s quite clear that IoT is an interesting topic, and many of us would like to use IoT-enabled devices for more convenience in our lives. However, consumers are filled with worries such as the collection, storage, and handling of data. We all value privacy in our lives, and it would be so intimidating is the devices designed to make our lives were still the same ones being used to steal our data.  

  1. Eavesdropping

The other main way through which IoT is affecting security is eavesdropping. It’s entirely possible for hackers or manufacturers to invade a consumer’s home using a connected device virtually. This is something that has been accomplished by German researchers who intercepted unencrypted data from a smart meter device and used the data to determine the television show that an individual was watching then.  

Final thoughts, 

Discussed above, are just some of the main ways by which IoT can or is affecting security. It’s true that IoT is one of the most amazing discoveries made in the internet age. However, with serious threats such as hacking and others, it’s quite clear that IoT is capable of producing negative rather than positive effects. As such, it’d only be right to say that there are lots of security issues that need to be addressed, before mass adoption of IoT as a common technological advancement in our lives. 

 

*Resource: (https://www.businessinsider.com/samsung-smartthings-platform-iot-security-issues-internet-of-things-2016-5?IR=T)

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Desiree Macy

Desiree Macy is the Editorial Director of SIA Online Magazine which is frequented by security executives, corporate security officers, and private protection professionals each month. Desiree's interests revolves around cyber-security, and business continuity.

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