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The Internet of Things becomes more and more popular, and IoT devices have started appearing in different areas of our everyday lives. The security issue will certainly become one of the most important factors that determine the success of IoT companies.

Fridges, cars, security systems, assembly lines all are connected to the internet. The IoT market is expanding at a rapid pace, and the number of IoT devices and sensors is expected to exceed 50 billion in the next three years.

IoT devices are popular not only in the consumer segment. Businesses choose IoT solutions because they offer numerous opportunities to save costs. For instance, Harley-Davidson managed to increase net margin by 19% and reduced costs by 7% by turning a plant in York, Pennsylvania, into a smart factory with different interconnected IoT devices.

However, as IoT devices become more popular, new risks appear. Given that this category of devices implies a constant internet connection, they are vulnerable to hacking. To protect your IoT network, you should understand what vulnerabilities these devices have, and what attacks may occur. IoT networks have an increased number of endpoints — devices that are connected to the global network and can be used as an entry point by hackers, exposing the whole IoT network to risks.

In this article, we will consider some of the most common security threats and provide you with tips on how you can secure your IoT devices.

iot-technology-concept

IoT Predictions for the Nearest Future

1. IoT will continue to grow

The amount of investments in IoT is expected to exceed $1 trillion by 2020, with a 30% annual growth until 2023. Therefore, in 2019, consumers don’t even fully understand what IoT will become and how important it will be.

2. IoT security will become more important

With an overwhelming number of IoT devices in use, the issue of security will become especially important. The increased number of vulnerabilities will lead to more attacks and increased damage, with smart homes and government institutions becoming victims of advanced botnets.

3. Security will be a differentiator

As the IoT market will grow, vendors will look for new security solutions that will make them stand out. Approaches like security-by-design will become a significant competitive advantage. Such technologies as machine learning and artificial intelligence will be actively used to process data and to protect private information. If vendors don’t manage to self-regulate security, governments will likely get involved in this issue.
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What You Should Know About Security Issues That Will Dominate the IoT

  • Brute-forcing and default passwords

When users receive devices with default passwords and don’t get clear instructions on why and how they should change them, bad things can happen. A good example of the possible consequences was the infamous DDoS attack that involved the Mirai botnet. The Mirai software was so successful only because it targeted IoT devices that had default usernames and passwords, which made brute-forcing possible.

  • Cloud attacks

A huge amount of data used in the IoT is stored in the cloud, which leads to another problem: cloud providers can become targets and so hackers will be able to damage millions of devices at once. Even though the awareness of this problem grows, cloud providers still cannot ensure the necessary security level that would correspond to the scale of this threat. According to the World Economic Forum, an attack on a single cloud provider would result in $50-$120 billion worth of damage. Such an economic loss is comparable to the damage from Hurricane Katrina.

  • Botnets will get stronger

As technology evolves, hackers also get more advanced tools such as a botnet. A botnet is a system of interconnected computers that perform repetitive tasks. Some internet users might be familiar with this concept thanks to Internet Relay Chats (IRC). However, botnets become a dangerous weapon when used by hackers. As the number of devices connected to the internet grows, botnets also become more dangerous, being able to attack your printer, TV, car, or security system.

  • Undetected small attacks

While the Mirai botnet only targeted devices with default usernames and passwords, the Reaper managed to break into other devices, as well. In this case, the difference is similar to that between looking for open doors and picking locks. Such hacking systems allow for a variety of individual attacks that will remain unnoticed on a global scale. Unlike large-scale attacks, such micro-breaches wouldn’t force vendors to quickly reconsider their security approaches so they could be stopped only when the number of victims reaches millions.

  • Machine phishing

Machine phishing may become one of the main concerns in the next few years. Hackers will try to infiltrate operational networks and send signals that will make users take wrong actions. For example, hackers may report that a battery is fully charged when it’s not, or a recently fired employee can hide the data that would otherwise indicate problems in the production process.

Conclusion

The Internet of Things invades more and more areas. Smart fridges, ovens, and washers are nothing new. Even self-driving cars are no longer just a topic for tech magazines. As the concept of smart devices becomes more popular, big companies also adopt the IoT to create more productive and efficient assembly lines. On the one hand, smart devices offer a new level of convenience. On the other hand, they are also vulnerable to hacker attacks.

It’s important to understand that the rapid development of technologies also creates more opportunities for hackers. Hackers can use brute-forcing to break into devices with default passwords. They can also create so-called botnets — networks of computers that perform repetitive tasks, being able to attack not only single devices but also whole networks. However, while large-scale attacks quickly attract international attention and make news headlines, individual attacks often remain unnoticed. Therefore, vendors should pay particular attention to security, while users should also understand the common hacking strategies and risks associated with using smart devices.

As the market grows, we should expect companies that offer the safest solutions to become leaders in this niche. In addition, we can expect new effective security approaches to appear. Despite the risks, the IoT industry will certainly continue to develop and will eventually become an integral part of our everyday lives.

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About Berta Melder

berta-melderBerta Melder is an experienced brand manager and content marketing strategist for Masterra, but thinking about additional career development opportunities, as leaders need to be familiar with the technologies that will drive their digital transformation. She also manages the company’s internal training activities on branding.

See Author’s Website

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