Surely by now you’ve heard of the term the “Internet of Things” (IoT) and its impact on the way we live and work. But what does that term actually mean and how will it affect our daily lives?
Before we go any further, let’s define what the “Internet of Things” actually means. First, IoT is the idea of connecting any device that can connect to the Internet or another device. And “things” in the “Internet of Things” rings true. Any object from smartphones to washing machines to lamps to wearable devices to refrigerators has the potential to connect to the Internet or other devices. All of these connections (which can include people) form a giant network, and that is what “The Internet of Things” is all about.
Potential Security Threats
While the IoT might seem like it will help a lot of people in their personal and professional lives, it does have its challenges. Security is a big issue that needs to be carefully assessed and looked into. If billions of devices are potentially connected to one another, how can someone keep their private information safe?
According to a report by Ernst & Young, by the time 2020 rolls around, there will be more than 20 billion devices connected wirelessly. The report also suggests that IoT will cause more security problems because of its multiple ports of entry and multiple systems. There are so many potential ways to attack that it would make it fairly easy for attackers to find loopholes to enter any network.
So just where do these vulnerabilities lie?
There aren’t many connected users who haven’t heard of things like Dropbox, or even Google Drive, that help make storage solutions easier. However, with great convenience comes great security risks. Unfortunately for some users and organizations, they’re discovering too late that their own standards of security might not be the same as the one in the cloud.
The Ernst & Young report states that there will be so much data produced, storage servers will need to be secured and updated all the time. Also, there are more risks when communicating sensitive and personal information constantly, so anyone receiving and transmitting data needs to take extra precautions.
Mobile devices have already caused quite a few headaches for IT professionals since it was one of the first instances of IoT. It doesn’t matter if your mobile device is secure; all it takes is one vulnerable device, and it can become virtually impossible to patch vulnerabilities for all devices. The more devices you have connected, the easier it will be for an attacker to uncover your devices’ vulnerabilities. Not only that, but mobile apps are opening up new risks. The more apps you have on your mobile device, the more likely it is that these apps may contain security holes or even malicious code.
More and more operating technology systems now have IP addresses where users can access them externally. Not only are cyber threats coming from back office systems, they’re potentially seeping into critical infrastructures such as transportation systems, power generation and other automation systems.
Even though the “Internet of Things” has really opened the doors to a whole new world of possibilities, new security issues threaten to uncover vulnerabilities. In order to keep all information secure, individuals and organizations need to keep themselves and each other accountable for protecting sensitive information. The more preventative measures you take, the more equipped you will be when handling a possible breach of security.