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Learning Center Experience
By Ahmed Banafa, Kaplan University Faculty
We can list the threats of Internet of Things (IoT) in three major categories:
privacy, security and safety; these categories are interrelated as they deal
with the same device and its connections. The significance of these threats can
be understood as the IoT devices are poised to become more pervasive in our
lives than mobile phones and will have access to the most sensitive personal
data such as Social Security numbers, health information, and banking
For example, a couple security concerns on a single device (such as a mobile
phone) can quickly turn to 50
or 60 concerns when considering multiple IoT devices in an interconnected
home or business. Considering what IoT devices can access, it’s important to
understand their security, privacy, and safety risks.
It’s important to remember that IoT is still an evolving “work in progress.”
things are connected to the Internet now, and, as
this article notes, “We will see an increase in this and the advent of contextual
data sharing and autonomous machine actions based on that information.”
The very definition of the IoT is the allocation of a virtual presence to a
physical object—these virtual presences will begin to interact and exchange
contextual information and the devices will make decisions based on this
contextual device. This, in turn, has the potential to lead to very physical
threats around national infrastructure, possessions (for example, cars and
homes), environment, power, water and food supply, and more. For example, hacking
into your house and turning lights off or on is not as serious as the lighting
system of a tunnel in New York City or subway systems in Tokyo or the Bart
System of the Bay Area of San Francisco. Recently a law firm filed a lawsuit
major automakers claiming that these companies failed to take measures to protect
their vehicles from hackers.
As more and more such devices enter the market—and our lives—IoT security
is no longer a foggy future issue. From self-parking cars to home automation systems
to wearable smart devices—just think of the Apple Watch, with an estimated
forecast that 19
million will be sold in 2015.
The growth in these connected
devices is expected to spike over the next several years, according to numbers
accumulated by Cisco Systems. What Cisco officials
call the Internet of everything
$19 trillion in new revenues for businesses
worldwide by 2020, and IDC analysts expect the IoT technology and services
market to hit $8.9 trillion
by the end of the decade.
conducted by HP showed a striking number of vulnerabilities per device ranging
to Distributed Denials of Service to weak passwords to cross-site script.
IoT’s Threats Are Real
to this article from CSO, experts say that IoT security threats are expansive and can present a good target for attacks such as industrial espionage. “Another
major area of concern is privacy with the personal information that will
potentially reside on networks, also a likely target for cybercriminals.”
In addition, as more and more objects contribute to today’s interconnected
environment, devices are prone to lose physical security, and “attackers could
potentially intercept, read or change data . . . they could tamper with control
systems and change functionality, all adding to the risk scenarios.”
What Can We Do?
Threats will continue
to persist with IoT but there are certain ways to increase security of these
environments using security tools like:
Further, “software development organizations
need to be better at writing code that is stable, resilient and trustworthy.” As
systems interact with each other, it's becoming more essential for an agreed
interoperability standard. Without a solid bottom-top structure we will create
more threats with every device added to the IoT. What we need is a secure and
safe IoT with privacy protected—it’s a tough trade off, but not impossible.
Interested in this career? Check out Kaplan University's IT resources here.
Ahmed Banafa is a full-time faculty member at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University.
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