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What is IoT Security?

What is IoT Security?

Blog Article Published: 09/25/2022

Written by Nicole Krenz, Web Marketing Specialist, CSA.

Internet of Things (IoT) devices describe a variety of non-traditional, physical objects including medical devices, cars, drones, simple sensors, and more. IoT represents objects that exchange data with other systems over the internet or other networks. IoT security is the practice of securing these devices against cybersecurity threats.

The Importance of IoT Security

IoT has already begun to transform consumer, business and industrial processes and practices. However, these devices often pose a security challenge due to the difficulty of securing them with traditional security controls. Here are three examples of why security within the IoT space is of high importance:

1. IoT Products Can Compromise Privacy

Devices can be vulnerable and potentially exploited based on physical access to the device, direct access to the local area network, and via the internet. It is interesting to note that in some situations, the devices themselves are not compromised, but the online services that devices connect with were not secured. It is important to secure the infrastructure that supports the devices in addition to the devices themselves.

2. IoT Products Can Assist in Launching DDoS Attacks

Compromising IoT products for use in DDoS attacks is less complex than identifying and exploiting vulnerabilities. Some IoT products don’t have password protections or use default ones for local access. Attackers able to identify these can victimize large populations for malicious purposes.

3. Medical Devices are Vulnerable

Devices such as pacemakers, cardioverter defibrillators, and implantable drug pumps have privacy issues. These devices specifically, when compromised, are extremely dangerous and could result in life-threatening injuries.

Challenges to Securing IoT

To understand how to design and develop IoT products securely, it is important to understand what challenges security engineers face when deciding on a security approach. Here are seven IoT device security challenges:

1. Insecure or Physically Exposed Environments

IoT products left physically exposed are vulnerable to being stolen and reverse engineered to identify secrets or vulnerabilities in the software that can then be exploited later.

2. Security is New to Many Manufacturers

Developers are often new to dealing with security concerns, and have not built the skills necessary to identify security weaknesses.

3. Security is Not a Business Driver

Investors and tech startups are more concerned with getting their products to the market than with security.

4. Lack of Standards and Reference Architecture

There is no accepted reference architecture among vendors, which is needed because IoT requires the cooperation of many technologies and protocols.

5. Recruitment Lag in IoT Development Teams

As development teams are already challenged with learning new technologies, IoT introduces even more challenges to their training. To improve this lag, new IoT security training must be provided.

6. Low Prices Increase the Risk Potential

The low price point of IoT products and their availability to consumers makes it just as easy for malicious actors to acquire them, find security issues, and analyze their protections.

7. Resource Constraints Limit Security Options

Not all IoT devices support security mechanisms. In many, there are tradeoffs between size, weight, processing power, etc. that hinder the implementation of sufficient security.

Read Future-proofing the Connected World: 13 Steps to Developing Secure IoT Products for an in depth, step-by-step guide to securing your organization’s IoT development.

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