A Guide To IoT Cybersecurity

IoT Cybersecurity
IoT Cybersecurity

IoT connects devices across the internet. As more and more devices and systems are embedded with network connectivity, the IoT network is keeping on growing. By expanding network connectivity to all corners of our life, we can save time and money and improve the efficiency of our lives.

A deeper analysis of the IoT network reveals various cyber threats that could be detrimental to the users and the devices. Expanded internet connectivity exposes various entry points to bad actors that can take advantage of the loopholes and perform malicious acts.

Cybersecurity Threats In The IoT System

It was in 2016 that the first wave of IoT cyber threats began when the Mirai Botnet compromised the security of many IoT devices, which include routers and IP cameras. The compromised security turned the devices into centrally controlled botnets that affected the internet connection of a million users worldwide.

Companies around the world are adopting various IoT solutions targeting better visibility and improved efficiency. Meanwhile, attackers are on the constant lookout for newer ways to gain unauthorized access to systems and data stores and compromise them. Starting from navigation systems in vehicles to IoT enabled medical devices, hackers can literally target anything.

Securing IoT Systems

Securing IoT systems is a challenging task for many reasons. Manufacturers and innovators are undergoing immense pressure to introduce newer devices that suffice the latest market needs. In the process, security is often given low priority. Moreover, many businesses are even unaware of the vulnerabilities in the IoT network because they give more attention to the convenience and cost-saving benefits of IoT.

Gartner predicts that over 25% of the enterprise attacks by 2020 will involve IoT systems. The risk is significantly high for Industrial IoT systems.

Securing the devices themselves is one way to approach the problem. For example, some equipment may not require constant monitoring during their operation but they still need to be secured. By applying tamper-proof precautions, these endpoints can be secured to prevent intruders from tapping into the devices and accessing critical data.

It isn’t just the IoT devices that should be secured. Organizations need to put in the effort to secure their IoT networks. By deploying strong user identification and access control mechanisms, it can be ensured that only authorized users are gaining access to the system.

It is not really possible to prevent the occurrence of IoT attacks altogether but organizations can still implement solutions that can effectively mitigate the cybersecurity threats.

Some Real World Applications Of IoT

IoT Connected Devices
IoT Connected Devices

IoT has been brewing a storm. Recent revelations in IoT are breaking down one of the differences that set humans apart from non-living things- communication among themselves. The idea of interconnected devices is where the devices are ‘smart’ enough to share relevant information not only with us but also cloud based applications and finally to each other (from IoT enabled devices to others).

Smart devices are nothing but IoT connected devices that are designed so as to capture and utilise every bit of data that you can share and use in day-to-day lives. All of these interconnected devices use the data to interact and make decisions to help complete tasks which are keeping human interests in mind.

Here we will be looking at some of the real world applications of IoT. Read on…

  • Smart Everything!

No need for you to walk all the way to the fan regulator or the A/C remote- IoT connected devices will read your location and set the room to the optimum temperature and humidity by the time you reach home. Are you out and need to allow access to your friend, but only you have the keys? You can grant a temporary pass that will enable your friend or guest to make themselves comfortable at your home until you arrive. IoT makes things a lot more convenient and simple.

Smart homes are promised to reduce the expenses and save you time and money.

  • Wearables

These have been in the news and the market for quite some time now- wrist bands to fitness trackers. Google to Samsung has all made headway in this field.

Wearables include sensors that read information and then use the collected information and data to give suitable results/ insights to the users. There are fitness wearables that will read your calories burnt, distance covered, heart rate, blood pressure and so on.

There are entertainment wearables such as smartwatches that will enable you to answer calls and read messages with your phone lying in the other room- Highly efficient, low-powered and small.

  • Energy Management

Power grids will be smart and reliable. The basic idea behind one is that it collects data and information in an automated and pre-programmed fashion- this is to read and analyse the behavior of electricity consumers and suppliers. This data can then be used to improve the efficiency as well as the economics of energy usage.

Smart grids will be able to detect the cause and location of a power outage and even redistribute the power to ensure that the flow of energy is not hindered at any cost.

Challenges In Managing IoT Information

IoT Connected Devices
IoT Connected Devices

IoT has become the happening and one of the most prevalent technological innovations of the 21st century. We are at the cusp of a digital revolution, and bringing all of the devices around us to a full circle. Many technologies have individually contributed to reaching where we are now and include the likes of cloud computing, Artificial intelligence, Big data, and machine learning to name a few. The internet of things involves the collection of large quanta of data that is obtained from various IoT connected devices. The IoT devices could be anything from everyday household appliances to industrial machinery. The transfer of information, analysis, and use of it to substantiate an action, in turn, makes these devices “smart”. 

Think of a new age door lock – a traditional deadbolt which in turn is connected to a central hub. It will mean that the property owner will now be able to gain access to the property in a keyless manner. The owner can also issue guest keys or digital passes. Every time the door is opened or someone triggers the alarm, the owner will receive a mobile alert that can inform the owner and unlock/ lock the device at the top of the screen. This is an example of how IoT can help you seamlessly connect the devices. The lock will send the necessary information to a server employing an active internet connection. The data then reaches the owner phone. A typical case of seamless transmission of data from one IoT connected device to another.

The Challenges That IoT Puts Forward

When innovations come into the scene, they provide a solution to previous problems and simplify things. Nonetheless, at the same time, there is a new set of challenges that are brought forward with smart business technologies, smart home devices, or industrial IoT devices. Here are some of the prominent challenges that exist:

Security  

Security or more specifically, cyber security is that which pertains to the security of information technology. This is not just limited to the data connection and its vulnerability but the actual device or hardware itself. Let us help you paint a picture. Imagine a property that functions as smart property, and is equipped with IoT sensors. A property manager or the owner of the property will be able to maintain and keep check of the device, the incoming data stream, send commands, and what-not. Imagine, if an intruder was able to seize control and manipulate the data or even the sensor itself? Disable alarms? Gain access to the smart property? Switch off safety function and sabotage the property with fire? The harm that can be done is limitless. 

We just used a house as an example. What if it is an industrial plant? Unknown individuals that have ulterior motives may shut down machines, overheat or overload the system, steal away sensitive data and so much more. This is why cyber security and appropriate security measures need to be put in place to ensure that data is encrypted, access is limited, and strong authorization is needed to gain use of the data or the IoT connected device itself. 

Privacy

This is a hot topic, with Facebook CEO being called out for privacy breaches and misusing user data. This again stems from the previously stated issue of cyber security. Most online connections are backed behind encryption. The data is essentially converted to gibberish (encrypted) and once it reaches the target site it is deciphered to make sense and showcase the initial intention and meaning of the data sent across. IoT devices and platforms can collect, transmit and make use of the data that is unencrypted, as is the case with many platforms that act as interfaces for the connected devices/ networks, and which are maintained by inexperienced developers.

For a business, especially one that deals with sensitive information, the improper handling of the data can completely turn the customer, the employees, and the organization itself, vulnerable. 

Reliability

When there is a power outage, or the network service provider goes out, the complete system essentially goes offline. There are limited methods of interacting with the devices in such cases. This is why during natural calamities or emergencies, IoT solutions act less as solutions and more as problems. That means that the entire device is made unusable. Other times, they operate at reduced capacity. In worse off situations, the data collection and reporting processes are interrupted. There will be a need to invest in low-power and offline support systems if you are to make IoT solutions full proof and reliable. This will require plenty of testing, which will serve the “always ON” concept that has become true for most facets of modern technology; yes, even when resources are limited. 

The Curtain Closer

In due course of time, we will be able to negate the shortcomings and truly embrace the IoT revolution that has marked the beginning of this century.

Top Tips To Ensure IoT Device Security

IoT Device Security
IoT Device Security

Internet of things (IoT) devices are becoming more popular among users because they let people control devices remotely. For example, IoT enables control of lights, thermostats, digital locks, and home appliances, etc., from afar. This helps improve home security. Additionally, smart devices are also part of this ecosystem through which we control IoT devices mentioned previously. However, these devices are prone to security lapses which make them easy targets for cybercrimes. Shared below are tips to ensure IoT cybersecurity so that these devices do not get hacked easily.

Change The Default Setting Of The Router

The preliminary step when you begin using any router is to change the default name and set a new password. This makes it difficult for people to access the device and makes them less prone to hacking. When creating a password, make sure to use a combination of numbers, alphabets, and symbols that are not correlated. As a rule of thumb, the more uncommon the name the more difficult it will be to crack it.

Create Strong Passwords

Creating strong passwords for the router is the other important step to secure the IoT devices. This reduces the risk of being hacked. It is always recommended to create a strong, elaborate, and complex password to protect the IoT ecosystem. As stated earlier, use a combination of numbers, alphabets both upper and lower cases, and symbols to create a strong password. Ensure that the password is long enough, and avoid using any kind of personal information. One common mistake people often make is that they use the same passwords for multiple accounts, and this must be avoided.

Update IoT Devices

Updating device software is the key to IoT device security, and it ensures that there aren’t any security flaws. It applies to all the devices using a Wi-Fi network, including the antivirus and antimalware software of laptops or smartphones. If one of the IoT devices is compromised, it can compromise the whole ecosystem. Also, keep in mind that hackers or cybercriminals are always improving their game.

Two Factor Authentication

The two-factor authentication that we employ for emails or banking transactions can be used for IoT cybersecurity. The advantage of this method is that it enables you to be in control of who gets to access the IoT ecosystem. If anyone accesses the network, you will be notified immediately to grand further access.

We hope that the tips shared above will ensure IoT device securityand protect them from hacking.

Important Industries That UtilizeThe Potential Of IoT

IoT Solutions
IoT Solutions

Internet of things (IoT) is now widely being used by different industries. This advanced technology has made the works faster and efficient. A lot of industries are now leveraging the potential of IoT solutions for improving their efficiency and reducing human efforts. IoT can be referred to as a network of interconnected devices that has the capability to communicate with each other. Therefore, IoT solutions will work even without human interference.

Internet of things technology is now used in different fields including business, agriculture, education, etc. Therefore, we are listing some of the important industries that utilize the potential of IoT. 

Manufacturing Industry

This industry is using the help of IoT for enhancing the efficiency and productivity of the manufacturing operations. This technology can be beneficial for monitoring and maintenance of different machines and equipment, optimizing manufacturing processes, etc. IoT is also being utilized in this field for tracking factory assets and increasing analytics functionality.

Automobile Industry

The automobile industry has developed greatly after the introduction of IoT. Driverless cars and car GPS systems are some of the important examples of IoT in this industry. IoT makes it possible for automobile companies to respond to real-time mechanical issues and update the software using data communication. In addition to this, IoT solutions can also be useful for improving the performance of vehicles and facilitating better safety.

Agriculture

IoT is now being utilized in the agricultural sector too. It is used for monitoring the growth of crops, facilitating irrigation facilities, soil testing, etc. IoT helped to reduce manual labor in this field. This technology increased productivity. Therefore, farmers are now able to meet the requirements of the growing population with the help of this technology.

Healthcare Industry

Another important field where IoT solutions are being utilized is in the healthcare industry. IoT made it possible to provide better patient care and effective treatments. With the help of this technology, it became possible for doctors to constantly monitor the health of patients remotely. Therefore, IoT has helped to bring a lot of advancements in the medical sector.

Finance

The banking and finance sector is also using the potential of IoT. It has helped to ensure secure transactions in the banking sector. It also facilitated the development of new banking technologies like ATM, mobile banking, smart cash, etc.

IoT is now widely being utilized in various fields. It can help to improve the performance and efficiency of various processes associated with different businesses. Innovations are being made in this field for helping the industries to completely leverage the potential for this technology for enhancing their performance.

In What Way Are Internet Of Things And Big Data Interconnected

Internet Of Things Devices
Internet Of Things Devices

Much data is gathered from the Internet of Things sensors each second, so establishing sophisticated analytics systems to gather and utilize data successfully is a must. The systems must have the capability to find correlations and reveal trends to help businesses ascertain the insights they can utilize to enhance their capabilities.

Internet of Things devices collect considerable data from the sensors, so some challenges exist related to processing and representing these data. In this situation, big data has a more significant role to play. The velocity, variety, and volume of data are the major facets of the big data analytics process. A benefit of the big data technology is its capability to process considerable data. IoT and big data have a symbiotic relationship, in which seamless connectivity and the resulting data capture and data analysis processes help businesses to have a greater comprehension to advance their prospects.

Examining Big Data

The sensors keep receiving data from numerous internet connected devices. The Internet of Things appears scalable to allow for the large data inflow, which has come with the proliferation of the connected gadgets. Analytical systems manage the data and offer information that will provide businesses with an edge over their competitors. The data will be mined on the basis of the form of data, so it is a must to divide it to utilize it to the best advantage. Various methods of analytics are performed according to the form of data at hand, and some of these are as follows.

Streaming Analytics

It joins unarranged data generated continuously by sensors and the stored information from researchers, for finding familiar patterns. Live analyses from the method of data analytics will aid in potentially usable situations such as bank transactions and fleet tracking. Live analytics is also useful in the construction industry.

Geospatial Analytics

In geospatial analytics, the data from the sensors and the place where these devices are located can offer a truly holistic perspective to do predictive analysis. Usually, the number of internet-connected things and the capability of IoT to deliver data wirelessly help to get comprehensive data dumps. It is possible to use these data dumps to simplify insights. This may also be a benefit to construction technologies like Building Information Modeling.

Almost every large business must capture, analyze, and report IoT data. Anyhow, these businesses face some challenges with the technologies being at a growing phase. Some of these challenges are also related to data integration and privacy.

Why The IoT Matters Today?

IoT Enabled Devices
IoT Enabled Devices

In today’s world we live in, the number of IoT enabled devices are more than the number of humans walking the planet. It enables sending, receiving, and taking actions on the data shared between devices. Therefore, it becomes important to be updated with the concept of IoT. Let us take it from the start, here we go!

The Internet Of Things

IoT or The Internet of Things implies a wide variety of things or devices that are connected with the internet. It facilitates data sharing between the things or the devices connected to the internet. Things or devices mentioned here can be IoT enabled devices, IoT applications, industrial machines, and more. With the help of the built-in sensors, the devices can exchange data and thereby improve our work environment.

History Of IoT

The term Internet of Things owes its existence to an entrepreneur Kevin Ashton. He coined this name in a presentation he held in the year 1999 and the name has stayed intact ever since. He may have given a name to it, however, the concept of many devices being connected and exchanging data has been in practice since the late 1830s.

Users Of IoT

For the sake of convenience, I have grouped the users into industries. So, let us look at some of the industries that are making the best use of IoT products.

Retail Industry

The retail industry derives benefits from IoT by uniting the data from the various analytics as well as marketing processes from different locations. With the help of the digital channels, they capture the data and apply the analytics to it. This helps them understand the behavioral patterns of their customers and also their preferences. 

Manufacturing Industry

With the use of IoT products, the manufacturing industry can connect will all of the stages of manufacturing. This facilitates in getting a cohesive view of the product data, production as well as the processing.

Health Care Industry

With the use of IoT devices like wearables, doctors can monitor their patient’s exercise patterns, sleep habits, and other related habits, etc. The data so collected can be used to provide precise treatment plans and diagnoses. 

Logistics And Transportation Industry

The use of IoT technology in the logistics and transportation industry enables greater efficiency, improved service delivery, and boosted customer satisfaction, etc.

In addition to the already discussed industries, the energy industry and Government can also reap the benefits of the IoT products.

IoT In The Health Industry – The Pros And The Cons

With the world changing right before our eyes, there is a reason not only to update our cell phone but ourselves as well. The one term that is making headlines all over in the past couple of years has been IoT. So what is it, and how does it especially help us in the health care industry? Let’s find out…

What Is IoT?

IoT or Internet of Things, is definitely the next big thing that involves the internet. In the broadest sense of the term, IoT incorporates everything under the sun that is connected to the internet. What this helps in achieving is devices connected to the internet to “talk” to one another. Now as a terminator fanatic, you may say this is the perfect recipe for creating Skynet. But fret not, we’re far from that. So what are the implications of this? Imagine your fridge which is constantly keeping stock of your groceries finds that you are low on eggs. Now when you head down to the supermarket to shop next time, your fridge will update your shopping list that you can view on your phone and remind you to get a batch of eggs. How efficient is that?!

By combining the many IoT enabled devices with automated systems, it is possible to collect information regarding specific parameters, analyse and study it, and then finally conduct an action based on the findings. Now what if you needn’t even go to the supermarket and your fridge sends an order to have eggs delivered by the time you get home from work on a weekday? You will have free time on the weekends and there is no need to put yourself through the pain of going to the market. I hope you see the possibilities that the future of internet of things now holds…

So What About IoT In The Healthcare Industry?

There is a play on words when IoT is implemented in the healthcare field, and is called IoMT or Internet of Medical Things. Now that you got a sense of how IoT could help monitor the eggs in your fridge, you can come close to fathoming the effect it could have on the health industry! As a matter of fact IoMT is already being used, and is already on the journey to deliver better services and medical care to more people. With the power of IoMT, the place of care need not just be the four walls of the local hospital! Health care is accessible when you want it! But is the picture painted as rosy as it seems? Let us look at it from both sides…

The Pros

IoMT can be implemented in wearable technology such as wrist bands that can give real-time feedback such heart rate and can alert those who are experiencing atrial fibrillations. Hell even wearable ECG monitors are available for doctors to wear, that will send electrocardiogram readings of the patient.

  • Perfect For Caregivers

IoMT can be a boon for those who are caregivers to parents and don’t live nearby or have a hectic work schedule. It helps them set appointments and keep a watch over the process.

  • Helps Save Life And Your Wallet

There are those who have chronic illnesses and have to bear with high costs due to the medical care. This cost comes in the form of rehospitalisation, time off work and to travel to and from the hospital. This takes not only a physical but a mental toll as well. Having IoMT technology helps bring the care to the patients. They can remotely check-in with the doctor, ask any question pertaining to their condition, and conduct simple tests that doesn’t require them to be physically at the hospital/clinic.

  • Helps Keep An Eye On Them

IoMT helps keep a watchful eye on the patient. Caregivers or family can now see if they miss a dosage, or require a refill with connected caps of medicine bottles. The connected device can then send an alert, notifying them of the shortage.

Pros Cons
Perfect for caregivers Secure but not safe
Helps reduce expenses Privacy
Helps with compliance Could be a health hazard

The Cons

  • Secure Is Not Always Safe

New aspects of the IoMT technology involve ingestible pill that include connected devices. This has been tried on a controlled group of cancer patients. The chemotherapy pill will allow for a third party such as a doctor to see if the patients don’t miss their dose and that they take their medicine when they’re supposed to. The problem lies when others can hack and pull out the information broadcasted by the connected devices. This brings us to the next point…

  • Privacy

What if somebody can use the information against you? What if there is an important figure or personality that is making use of this IoMT technology, and an ill-wisher somehow manages to get their hands on the information relating to their health? Or, what if the data from the device is erased or changed? What happens if the device malfunctions endangering the patient?

  • Could Be A Health Hazard

Connected devices can malfunction, fatally harming the user. This would be a law suit that any manufacturer of IoMT enabled devices would not want to be a part of.