Iot is expanding its market day by day, if we talk about Europe then it will reach 242.222 million Euros by the end of 2020. And IoT installed units in India are anticipated to increase from 60 million devices in 2016 to 1.9 billion devices by 2020. The rise in popularity of IoT connected devices leading to rise in IoT app development does come with its fair share of concerns and security challenges.
It’s been observed that they are not that much concerned about the security issues associated with data access & management, they rather prefer to compete with each other who would get the latest device in the hands of consumers first? There are many security challenges that we need to tackle related to IoT services. So, let us have a look at those security threats and why we need to deal with them.
1. Insufficient Texting and Updating
Currently, there are more than 20 billion IoT connected devices worldwide. And this number is not going to slow down and is about to reach more than 30 billion by 2020 and over 60 billion by the end of 2025. And it is alarming if we don’t fix the security patches and issues that come with this technology. In fact, one of the main problems with tech companies building these devices is that they are too careless when it comes to handling devices related security risks. Most of these devices and IoT products don’t get enough updates while, some don’t get updates at all.
So, it means that those devices which are meant to provide security to the people, become more available, insecure and vulnerable to hackers. Earlier, when computers were introduced for commercial purposes, they had this same problem, which was somewhat solved with automatic updates. IoT manufacturers, however, as we mentioned are more leaned towards to produce and deliver their devices as fast as they can, without giving security too much of a thought.
And most manufacturers offer firmware updates only for a short period of time, only to stop the moment they start working on the next headline grabbing gadget. They often leave their customers who trusted them exposed to potential attacks as a result of outdated hardware and software. To protect against such attacks, each device needs proper testing before being launched into the public and companies need to update regularly and failing to do so is bad for both the companies and their consumers, as it only takes a single large scale breach in consumer data to completely ruin the company.
2. Brute Forcing and the issue of default Passwords
The Mirai botnet, used in some of the largest and most disruptive DDoS attacks is perhaps one of the best examples of the issues that come with shipping devices with default passwords and not telling consumers to change them as soon as they receive them. There are even many government norms which advise manufacturers against selling IoT products with read and hackable credentials such as using “admin” as username or password but unfortunately it is not followed by the manufacturers everywhere. It’s because these are nothing more than guidelines, as there aren’t any legal repercussions to incentivize manufacturers to abandon this dangerous practice. So, if you have an IoT device then always update them with strong credentials, because weak credentials and login details leave nearly all IoT devices vulnerable to password hacking and brute forcing in particular.
3. IoT Malware & Ransomware
As the number of IoT connected devices continues to rise in the following years, so will the number of malware and ransomware used to exploit them. The traditional ransomware relies on encryption to completely lock our users out of different devices and platforms, there’s an ongoing hybridization of both malware and ransomware strains that aims to merge the different types of attack. These ransomwares could limit the use to steal the user data at the same time. For instance, a simple IP camera is ideal for capturing sensitive information using a wide range of locations, including your home, work office or even the local gas station. So, the ever increasing number of IoT devices will give birth to unpredictability in regards to future attack permutations.
4. IoT Botnets Aiming at Cryptocurrency
The healthy competition in the market and the recent rise of cryptocurrency valuations has given chance to the hackers to loot money from the people. While most find blockchain resistant to hacking, the number of attacks in the blockchain sectors seems to be increasing. The main vulnerability isn’t the blockchain itself, but rather the blockchain app development running on it. Hackers are already using social engineering and are already being used to extract usernames, passwords & the private keys and to hack blockchain based apps.
The open-source cryptocurrency Monero is one of the many digital currencies currently being mined with IoT devices. Some of the hackers have been repurposing IP and video cameras to mine crypto. IoT applications, structures, and platforms relying on blockchain technology need to become regulated and constantly monitored and updated if it were to prevent any future cryptocurrency exploits.
5. Data Security & Privacy Concerns
Data privacy and security continues to be the single largest issues in today’s interconnected world. Dats is constantly being harnessed, transmitted, stored and processed by large companies using a wide array of IoT devices, such as smart TVs, speakers and lighting systems, connected printers, HVAC systems, and smart thermostats. Secure development of mobile app and web-based IoT applications can be quite difficult for small companies with limited budgets and manpower.
As we already mentioned, most manufacturers tend to focus solely on getting the app and device on the market fast to attract even more funding and start growing their user base.
6. Small IoT attacks that Evade Detection
The largest IoT based botnet two years ago was the Mirai botnet. And in 2017 it was the Reaper, a significantly more dangerous botnet than the famed Mirai. These large scale attacks can be really dangerous and what we should be fearing in 2020. We are guaranteed to see more and micro breaches slipping through the security net in the next couple of years. Hackers are leaning towards using more subtle attacks small enough to let the information leak out instead of just grabbing millions & millions of records at once.
7. AI & Automation
As IoT devices continue to invade our everyday lives, enterprises will eventually have to deal with hundreds of thousands, if not millions of IoT devices. This amount of user data can be quite difficult to manage from a data collection and networking perspective. AI tools and automation are already being used to sift through massive amounts of data and could one day help IoT administrators and network security officers enforce data specific rules and detect anomalous data and traffic patterns.
However, using autonomous systems to make autonomous decisions that affect millions of functions across large infrastructures such as healthcare, power and transportation might be too risky, especially once you consider that it only takes a single error in the code or a misbehaving algorithm to bring down the entire infrastructure.
8. Home Invasions
Perhaps one of the scariest threats that IoT can possess is of the home invasion. Nowadays, IoT devices are used in a large number at homes and offices which have given rise to home automation. The security of these IoT devices is a huge matter of concern as it can expose your IP address that can pinpoint to your residential address. This vital information can be sold by the hackers to the underground websites which are havens for criminal outfits.
Moreover, if you’re using IoT devices in your security systems, then there is a huge possibility that they might compromise as well as leave your house at potential threat.
9. Remote vehicle Access
Apart from home invasion, hijacking of your car is also one of the threats possessed by the IoT. Smart Cars are on the verge of becoming reality with the help of connected IoT devices. However, due to its IoT association, it also possesses a greater risk of a car hijack. An experienced hacker can easily access your smart car through remote access.
10. Untrustworthy Communication
There are many IoT devices which send messages to the network without any encryption. This is one of the biggest IoT security challenges which exists out there. It is high time that all the companies ensure encryption of the highest level. And to avoid threats, the best way to do so is to use transport encryption and standards like TLS.
Here are the 10 biggest Security Challenges for IoT that we need to tackle for better security.