The Internet of Things — An Insight into the Cybersecurity Concerns

The Internet of Things — An Insight into the Cybersecurity Concerns 1

While everyone is actively indulging in the “high on technology” trend introduced by IoT, the aligning cybersecurity concerns require their share of attention too. With more and more devices connected over the virtual network, the threat of data leak is on the rise.

According to a shocking Kaspersky report, malware threats to IoT devices were three times higher in the first half of 2018 compared to the whole of 2017.

Nowadays, everything is “Smart.” Be it phones, cars, homes, or even cities, smartness is spreading its wings like never before. But, the cyber breaches that come along tend to ruin the entire fun. Despite increased spending on building robust security features, there seems to be a gap that needs to mend.

The biggest example of cybersecurity failure came into notice in 2018 when Location Smart leaked location data of cell phone users in the U.S. It was termed as “one of the biggest gaps in U.S. privacy law.”

Another cyber breach you must have heard of a point at the popular device “Amazon’s Alexa.” A Portland-based couple reported that Amazon Echo went haywire and recorded their conversation and sent it to a random person in their contact list. Isn’t it horrifying?

The price that one needs to pay for adopting high-end technology is not justified. That is why there is a need to magnify research and development in the field of cybersecurity for a carefree interconnected world.

Why Cyber Breaches Accompany IoT?

Back in time, when there were fewer interconnected devices, the doors to insider information were also less. But, with the advent of a world of “interconnected devices,” the doors to sources of infinite information have gradually heightened.

No matter how securely you lock those doors, the hackers around are talented enough to find their way. And, that calls for attention!

The hard truth is that when one of the devices gets compromised, every other device that it connects with would be compromised too. This chain of threats can lead to a disaster. Thanks to the World Wide Web for heightened awareness about security threats that organizations are working day and night to do away with them.  

It is evident from the fact that businesses have already started to hike up their security spending. This Gartner based study proves the same.

The Internet of Things — An Insight into the Cybersecurity Concerns 2

Exploring the Most Common Security Threats

For a fact, the first of I.T. attacks were a witness in 2016. Since then, hackers have upped their skills and have come up with creative methods for compromising security. Some of the most common cyber attacks include:

1. Botnets

It is a type of attack where a network of systems collaborate to run havoc by dominating the server and distributing malware. These attacks are generally the distributed DDoS (Distributed-Denial-of-Service) attacks that, in turn, are exploited for varied criminal activities.

Nokia has claimed that IoT botnets drove almost 78% of malware activity in 2018.

2. Man-In-The-Middle Attack

As the name suggests, the man-in-the-middle attack is designed to interrupt the communication signals between two unique systems. The attack is termed as risky owing to its unknowing nature of the ongoing theft of intrinsic data. Additionally, the hacker can manipulate the conversation and send it over to the recipient, worsening the impact of the attack.

The “Superfish,” a software that came with Lenovo Pcs, was a famous man-in-the-middle attack. The software behaved weirdly by injecting ads into the browser and even was able to decipher meaning from confidential data.

3. Denial-Of-Service

A denial-of-service attack renders a service unavailable, which worked perfectly fine initially. And, then there is “Distributed Denial-of-Service,” attack, where a group of systems attacks a single target. The DDoS attack is usually conducted through botnets. Here, many devices get programmed to request a particular service all at the same time.

The Mirai botnet that included 400,000 bots injected bogus traffic of 1.2 TBps on the server, which in turn, affected the genuine DNS requests. As a result, platforms such as PayPal, Netflix, Reddit, Amazon, and Airbnb went unavailable for several hours.

4. RFID Spoofing

The new type of IoT threat is RFID spoofing and has become the talk of the internet. RFID stands for “Radio Frequency Identification” and is a technology that is designed to read and identify tags attached to physical objects automatically. Hackers have found a way to disfigure the popular technology by creating fake RFID signals that can give them access to critical data.

An interesting RFID attack came into limelight when a group of hackers took control of the hotel’s key card system and locked the guests out of their rooms. The attack’s intensity was grave enough as it restricted the hotel from issuing new cards as well.

Introducing the IoT Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2019

A significant move has been introduced by the U.S. Congress to “leverage Federal Government procurement power to encourage increased cybersecurity for Internet of Things devices.” 

The act intends to address the growing threat to IoT devices by encouraging IoT manufacturers to build secure devices.

The Cost of Poor Device Security

As per the 2018 Ponemon Cost of Data Breach Study, the average cost of data breach stands at $3.86 million. Also, the average cost of each stolen record is somewhere around $148. It proves that no business can afford an attack on their IoT devices. It is not only money, but time and resources too that get spent to recover from what has been lost.

An Initiative to Secure the Connected World

Technology has paved the way for making the world a global village, i.e., a world without boundaries. But, the risks that come along can ruin the entire gist of it. That is why businesses need to put their best foot forward into building hack-proof IoT devices that can give hackers a good run for their money.

Always remember, building secure IoT devices is not discretionary, but an important initiative that is worth the effort.

Written by James Wilson

James Wilson is a seasoned Content Writer at Net Solutions, New York for ten years with an expertise in blogging, writing creative and technical copy for direct response markets as well as B2B and B2C industries. Born and brought up in New York, James holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature. He has worked for industries like IT, product design and development, Lifestyle, among others, and written some great insights on technologies like user experience design, mobile app development, eCommerce, and so on. Besides his technical background, In his free time not very disconnected from the digital - he loves to binge-watch Netflix.

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