Security for the Internet Of Things (IOT)

In the age of the Internet of Things (IoT), when all devices in our homes, offices, cars and even on our person (watches, fitness trackers, etc.) are interconnected with each other, data security has become a major area of focus, especially after the recent hacking incidents that have taken place (Sony Pictures, ICloud celebrity photos, etc.). And rightfully so, given that its estimated that the number of interconnected devices will surpass 40 billion by the end of 2020.

IoT Vulnerabilities

The main problem with this much inter-connectivity is that since the idea of networking home appliances and other traditionally non-IT objects is so new and niche, data security is typically not considered in the initial product design. Most of these products are often sold with old and unpatched embedded operating systems. Furthermore, vendors more often than not, don’t even change the default passwords on these smart devices — or if they do change them, they fail to select sufficiently strong passwords. The other problem is that there is no consensus on how to implement security for this new generation of smart devices, networks and systems.

So What Can We Do To Resolve This?

According to John Moor a spokesperson for IoTSF, “the opportunity for IoT is staggering. However, there are ever-real security challenges that accompany these opportunities.” He stressed the importance of addressing data security from the start.

Still, there is no definitive answer on how IoT security challenges can be resolved, or when for that matter. The industry is working hard to get the problem sorted out which is evident from the number of white papers published on the subject, but still there is a long way to go. Recent studies indicate that the majority of currently available IoT devices have security vulnerabilities. A recent study by HP found that as many 70% of IoT devices are vulnerable to attack.

Although there’s been exponential growth in the IOT, it is still not mature enough or secure enough to be perfect. And by constantly adding new devices, hardware endpoints, billions of lines of code, along with more infrastructure to cope with the load, we have created a vast set of challenges, unmatched by anything that we have experienced over the past two decades.

For the IoT to become mainstream it is therefore vital that a globally accepted standard of data security and privacy be developed and adopted. Until that’s done, the IOT will remain a thing of the future.

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Mobeen Ahmed

Mobeen is a Senior Technical Consultant for Microsoft Dynamics AX. He is well versed in the customization, integration and reporting for Dynamics AX 2009 and 2012.

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