Technology has come a long way in the last few decades. Various innovations and concepts have completely altered the way we once perceived technology and used our devices. One such concept is the Internet of Things.
The Internet of Things or IoT has become a popular concept today. And while it may appear like a fancy term, almost everyone uses IoT devices daily. From Amazon Alexa and Google Home to Apple’s smartwatches, all of us use a variety of smart devices every single day. Well, these are built on the concept of IoT.
So, what exactly is IoT, and why does everyone keep talking about strengthening its security? Read on to find out what you need to know about the Internet of Things and the best real-world IoT security.
The Internet of Things (IoT): What Is It?
Simply put, the Internet of Things is a system of interconnected computing devices or machines. It is basically an extension of the internet that works on the concept of connecting almost anything that has an ON/OFF button with the internet. The IoT is a giant network of billions of devices or “things” connected to the internet that collect and share data about their surroundings and environment.
All the IoT devices come with unique identifiers known as UIDs and built-in “smart” sensors. As a result, they can share and receive data over a network without the need for human-to-human or human-to-computer physical contact.
So, IoT takes the power of internet connectivity beyond computing devices to a broad range of additional tools (things). These “things” can be of different shapes and sizes. It can be a watch, a microwave, a fridge, a shower, a robot vacuum, a toy, or even a car (Self-driving cars, we see you!)
From smart home light switches that can be turned on or off remotely to fitness devices that can count your footsteps and recommend tailored exercise plans, millions of devices are designed on the concept of IoT.
Significance of IoT in Our Lives
It is estimated that there will be a whopping 30.9 billion IoT devices by 2025! This amounts to an average of more than four devices per person in addition to their laptops and smartphones. Thus, saying IoT is on the rise would be an understatement.
However, these numbers represent the future. So let’s find out how the IoT solutions are impacting us today.
Automation and Easy Control
The biggest benefit of IoT devices is that we can control them remotely. Smart light bulbs are an excellent example of this. These bulbs can be connected to your home network and can be turned on and off from anywhere (even from outside the house) through applications like Google Home.
When it comes to businesses, IoT devices are being used to automate and control manufacturing and production lines, robots, and other devices.
A great benefit of the Internet of Things is that it provides us with excellent security solutions for our homes and offices. Today, we can establish a network of surveillance cameras with smart motion sensors and other IoT devices in both our homes and workplaces.
These devices can be accessed and controlled from your mobile devices, like your phone, laptop, or tablet, no matter where you are. As soon as something goes wrong, the sensors will send an immediate signal, and you can act accordingly.
Since IoT devices are automated, they don’t require human intervention for the most part. Moreover, they are capable of communicating with each other. And machine-to-machine (M2M) communication improves the quality of work and production.
They bring uniformity to every task, reduce the chances of human error, enhance transparency, and improve the quality of products and services. This saves a lot of time as well!
Improvement in Medical Industry
IoT has become a true blessing for the medical industry. Today, we have smart medical devices that can collect and share crucial data with doctors in real-time. Moreover, the data shared by these devices can prove to be life-saving in certain health emergencies.
Importance of IoT Security
Since IoT devices have improved almost every sphere of our lives, and since we are becoming more and more dependent upon these technologies, it is essential to ensure their security. Unfortunately, with the growing popularity of IoT solutions, the threat to their confidentiality and safety is multiplying as well.
Billions of IoT devices are connected over a network today. This means that we have an ocean of data being shared every second of every day between devices and networks.
If one IoT device falls victim to a cyberattack, it weakens the overall security of all other connected devices and the entire network. In short, you have too much to lose here. So, using every available safety measure to protect your IoT devices is no longer a mere choice; it has become a necessity.
What Are The Major Security Risks to Your IoT devices?
Here are some of the most significant security issues with IoT solutions:
Risky data storage and transfer
As people continue to use cloud-based applications to store and transfer their data, the cross-communication between the IoT devices and the cloud network also increases.
While the cloud network is believed to be highly secure, the same cannot be said for the IoT ecosystem. It lacks robust encryption and proper access controls. Thus, when data enters the IoT ecosystem from a cloud network, the risk of security breaches increases several-fold.
Botnets are several internet-connected devices that run on bots. These are designed to deploy malicious software, launch denial-of-service attacks, steal data, send spam, etc., to IoT devices.
Weak or very common passwords
Weak passwords pose a major security risk for IoT devices. Unfortunately, most people are not that conscious while setting up the password to their smart devices. All it takes is one poor password for an attacker to sabotage your entire home or office network.
Absence of physical hardening
The best thing about IoT solutions is that they facilitate remote access to your devices. However, this can very well become a threat too.
While IoT devices can work automatically, they require being physically secured against security breaches. And doing so becomes complicated when a device is deployed in remote locations. In addition, the lack of physical hardening enables hackers and cybercriminals to tamper with the device and steal critical data.
3 Tried and Tested Strategies to Safeguard Your IoT Devices in Today’s Digital Landscape
With the growing number of cybersecurity breaches, maintaining the security of your IoT devices can become difficult. However, it is something we can’t afford to ignore. Staying vigilant and up-to-date with the latest security measures is the only way to maintain your privacy and protect your devices.
Here are the top three security solutions to help you safeguard your smart devices:
Use unique and strong passwords
Do you know how many security breaches happen due to weak passwords? You will be surprised by the answer. Security researchers have found that 30% of security breaches are caused by poor password setup.
Always create truly unique passwords. Ensure that your passwords include letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid using things like “123456” or your name as your passcodes. Also, to avoid further security risks, try to change your passwords in a timely manner.
Multi-factor authentication for the win
Multi-factor authentication provides a double layer of security to your IoT devices. With this measure in place, anyone trying to log into your smart device would have to provide an additional proof of identity apart from just a password.
This identity proof can be an OTP (one-time password) sent to your cell phone number, a unique code sent to your email address, or anything else. So, even if a hacker gets your password, it would be difficult for them to break into your IoT device easily.
End-to-end encryption is important
The IoT ecosystem facilitates Machine-to-Machine communication. So, all of your connected devices can transmit data and communicate with each other without hassle.
If this data is not encrypted correctly, cyber attackers will gladly steal it and use it for their benefit. The information being shared between IoT devices must be encrypted at every transmission point to prevent this. Make sure that all of your IoT devices facilitate encrypted data transfer. If they don’t, it’s time to look for alternatives.
At the end of the day, the safety of your IoT devices is in your hands. So, make sure to never take it lightly. Instead, do your research and leverage all possible security measures to protect your devices and your personal and professional data. After all, you can’t be too careful when it comes to your online safety.
Tech Masters is your one-stop shop for all your IT, network, and tech support needs. We help businesses of every kind improve productivity, streamline processes and achieve greater success. Connect with us today to learn more and to schedule your free business IT assessment.
For more information about protecting your IoT devices, check out our frequently asked questions below.
How do I protect my IoT devices?
There are many ways to protect your Internet of Things-enabled devices. Here are a few of them:
- Make sure to use a complex and unique password for your router.
- Regularly update the software of your IoT devices.
- Leverage multi-factor authentication
- Always keep your Wi-Fi account private. You can set up a guest network for your friends or guests.
What are three IoT security threats?
The three major security risks and threats to IoT devices include the following:
- Denial of service or DoS attack
- Identity and data theft
- Ransomware attacks
What is IoT device security?
IoT device security basically refers to the technology segment used for protecting all the connected devices in the IoT. It involves all the measures, technologies, and processes used to safeguard your network and IoT devices from the clutches of cybercriminals and other online security risks.
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