IoT Security Risks & Challenges

As long as Internet of Things remains a hot topic, there’s no fault in foreseeing IoT security risks. Obviously, safety is one of the primary concerns for any IoT firm. But for addressing this issue well, one has to know the volume & depth of the subject.

The world of IoT is growing exponentially over time. Everywhere we can see its manifestations- from personal safety gadgets to sophisticated home subsystems and from electric toothbrushes to HVAC devices- that can be accessed & monitored remotely.

The Journal reported – “According to IT research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), IoT is expected to grow from $656 billion in 2014 to $1.7 trillion in 2020, representing a compound annual growth rate of nearly 17 percent.”

It’s impossible to deny “device security” related facts while covering principal security issue in IoT sector. No wonder why device vendors overlooked in this area; especially if they can release cheap devices compromising device safety or privacy.

Real Time Instances on IoT Vulnerabilities

The discussion is not meant to question pitfalls of the entire IoT Industry- but, in a situation where the vulnerabilities in the digital world are occupying space in our real world, these kinds of discussions often find its space.

Analyze these incidents –

  • It was on the last year hackers, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek demonstrated a jeep Cherokee can be hijacked– just with a notebook computer at home. And very recently, a cyber security expert from Troy hunt, using just a mobile application hacked a Nissan Leaf car and drained it’s entire battery!
  • Samsung had designed a “smart fridge” last year. It was synchronized with user’s Google Calendar through Wi-Fi. This time, the issue came while validating SSL certificates. The result was -as you imagine, unencrypted Google credentials of the user.
  • On October last year, security researchers from Rapid7 found vulnerabilities in 9 baby monitors. By their report, these monitors can easily take control by hackers and use for illicit activities.

Perhaps, you might heard about Shodan, the search engine for IoT devices. We can even see images and videos from non-encrypted webcams around the world through this.

We tested this on some webcamxp cams in Australia. The results were shocking!

IoT Security Risks - Shodan01
One live feed result from Shodan tested with webcamXP in Australia
IoT Security Risks - Shodan02
Another result from Australia

Shodan reminds us why we need to focus more on IoT security.

Even though ignored in previous times, people have started thinking about the importance to increase IoT security. On the light of previous security breaches and device gap holes, crucial efforts are being taken in order to take them down.

Need for Standardization

The fact is the number of IoT-enabled devices to is never going to diminish. Based on this fact only, we can think about the need for standardized IoT security protocols. But, the problem of lack of mutuality arises when we really address this issue. We may find very little security agreement between those connected devices in many sectors- for example, thermostats or lighting sensors.

Off course, the demand for such protocols may grow as per the new developments in this sector. Collective efforts are expected from device vendors to achieve this.

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