The internet of things (IoT) offers access to a large amount of data—making it a big target for cyber criminals intent on hacking the internet of things.
IoT is a network of interconnected devices, software, and sensors. It is the network of “things,” or physical objects that range from household products to industrial tools. IoT includes personal and business applications such as smart home and business devices, autonomous vehicles, supply-chain management technology, traffic management, and environmental monitoring. These systems communicate with each other without the need for human interaction.
Growing Opportunities and Threats
IoT has certainly emerged as one of the most important technologies of the 21st Century. The number of global IoT connections is projected to reach 83 billion by 2024, according to a study from Juniper Research. The study identified the industrial sector as a key driver of this increase.
Growth means more use of private networks that leverage cellular networks’ standards. The interaction between the digital and physical worlds, typically by means of the cloud, big data, analytics, and mobile technologies, also exposes IoT to several risks. This alarms many, especially as cyber threats continue to evolve with criminals devising new ways to attack unsecured systems.
Broadly, IoT vulnerabilities fit into these categories:
- the lack of security of web, cloud, and mobile interfaces;
- data confidentiality;
- gaps in encryption and authentication/authorization; and
- insecure firmware and insufficient security configuration options.
Devices are typically protected through security software, but are subject to threats and vulnerabilities through their connection to the IoT. Hackers can exploit systems within the devices’ outdated components. Consistent monitoring is essential to managing vulnerabilities. In addition, the different technology these devices use makes it difficult to apply standard protection methods and protocols.
According to SecurityScorecard, here are some of the top IoT concerns and vulnerabilities:
- Insecure data storage and transfer
- Lack of visibility and device management
- Botnets that steal data and compromise networks
- Weak passcodes
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) attacks
How to Prevent Attacks
The complexity of IoT networks requires maximizing security within multiple layers—from connectivity to physical devices. Many IoT vulnerabilities are because devices have limited built-in security features. Juniper’s research suggests security procedures be highly scalable and focus on using network segmentation to mitigate risks. Changing default credentials, using unique passwords, software updates, and encrypting data can help protect IoT devices.
Additionally, cyber pros can run security audits to reveal IoT risks and vulnerabilities. This is part of preventative measures that also include monitoring tools that provide instant notification if an attacker attempts to break into the network.
Discover More Opportunities in Cybersecurity
IoT is only one area of technology that offers opportunities for cybersecurity professionals. As new and improved technologies are developed, you can expand your career potential. To begin, you need the education to qualify for a position in the cybersecurity field. The Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity degree program at William Woods University is an excellent start. The program prepares graduates for careers overseeing, operating, or protecting critical computer systems, information, networks, and infrastructures.