Security Concerns remain a major barrier to internet of things

Security Concerns remain a major barrier to internet of things

Article by Claude Calleja published on the Sunday Times of Malta on 11.10.2020.

Internet of Things World has released its annual IoT security concerns survey. It found that an overwhelming majority (85%) believe that security concerns remain a major obstacle to the roll-out of Internet of Things (IoT). In fact, the eSkills Malta Foundation believes with 64% of respondents thinking that IoT security is an “end-to-end” approach that is the biggest obstacle to the deployment of IoT, surpassing only machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).

With IoT potentially flooding wireless networks with billions of new connected devices, security must be a top priority for engineers and designers to keep up with the demands and to ensure that information travelling between devices with IoT connections remains secure. End users reported using more security software on average than the typical consumer, underscoring the complexity they face in protecting their existing communications networks.

If industrial companies are to push ahead with the introduction of IoT, they will be exposed to new security risks and need to protect themselves. The good news is that trusted vendors already exist that can mitigate the risk of security issues with proven technologies such as token-based authentication and smart contracts that are suitable for IoT applications. Companies are still developing, learning from the risks and developing security management and insurance methods to protect their assets, industrial and otherwise, from security threats. The Internet of Things only increases the potential for devastation, but the Internet has always been chaotic and will be so in the future as well.

Companies developing industrial IoT applications face significant challenges, as many industrial devices have traditionally been designed in isolation. In 2016, the biggest hurdles to the introduction of IoT remained the same but were greatly outweighed by security.

In addition, large IT companies are continuously developing innovative solutions to ensure the security of IoT devices. Companies are rapidly expanding their risk, expanding to connect literally everything, and risking jeopardizing their customer’s privacy, security and even livelihoods.

In 2016, DNS providers and major websites were crippled by a distributed denial of service attacks carried out by IoT devices running Mirai malware. In May 2017, Junade Ali, a computer scientist at Cloudflare, found that native DDoS vulnerabilities exist in over 70% of the world’s IoT devices. The overall IoT security market grew by 27.9% in 2016 due to growing infrastructure concerns, diversified usage and the adoption of smart home devices.

By the end of 2027, revenues are expected to reach nearly €15 billion, with revenues from smart grids. Network security remains the preferred solution for IoT security products, with network security solutions for smart grids, smart homes and smart city devices accounting for more than 50% of the total IoT market in 2016. In addition, the global market for security and network management solutions in smart homes is predicted to expand at a faster rate at least up to 2027. Most technical security issues are similar to those used in traditional servers, workstations and smartphones. In general, there are no significant differences in security levels between them and IoT devices.

Given that many surveys keep indicating that security keeps being the biggest concern, we can expect the supplier ecosystem to solve this problem once and for all. With the advent and massive deployment of IoT equipment, coupled with the occasional breach of private data, companies are more cautious than ever, and rightly so.

eSkills Malta Foundation firmly believes that IoT is extremely beneficial for commerce, education and society, and all are itching to invest more. It is time that vendors take a wider approach and carry out more research so that IoT devices are manufactured secure by default. In the meantime, it is highly recommended that vendors of IoT devices offer a security implementation service to prospective customers.

This article was prepared by collating various publicly available online sources.