The Internet of things has gained massive popularity. Its popularity is anticipated even to grow further. According to a report by fortune business insights, the global market share of IoT is expected to reached $1.11 trillion in 2026. The technology of the Internet of Things is like a double-edged sword. With all the many benefits that it has brought forth, there are security challenges and threats associated with it. The IoT devices are vulnerable to human error and mistakes that can lead to a cyberattack. It is no doubt that the IoT is facing huge security challenges that must be addressed. This article has highlighted some of the security challenges that the IoT faces and provides solutions for the said challenges.
Brute Forcing and the problem of default passwords
When a consumer purchases a device, it will come with a default password. The buyer of the device is usually expected to change the password when he receives the device. However, this is often not the case. Device owners typically end up using the default password that came with the device. By doing so, they put themselves at the risks of DDoS attacks. As much as we might blame the manufactures for failing to remind the buyers to change the passwords the moment they receive the device, it is majorly the responsibility of the buyer to change the password whether or not he/she is reminded to do so.
The use of weak login credentials will leave nearly all the Internet of Things devices at the risk of brute force attacks and unauthorized accesses resulting from password hacking. A perfect example is the case of the Mirai malware, which took advantage of vulnerable Internet of Things devices and used default login credentials to infect the devices.
The solution to this is obvious; all IoT devices owners should change the default login credentials the very moment they receive the devices. Failure to do so will put the whole business, the assets, and the customers at the risk of a cyberattack. Proper password practices and guidelines should be emphasized when changing the passwords.
Malware and Ransomware
As the number of Internet of Things devices continues to rise and with the increase in its popularity, so has the number of malware and ransomware attacks on the IoT devices increased. In the past, ransomware attacks have relied mostly on encryption to lock users from accessing different platforms and devices. In the past, there has been an attempt to hybridize the strains of ransomware and malware to merge the two.
Ransomware has been known to be a major problem facing the IoT world. Ransomware will encrypt files and information as well as infect the IoT system. Once the users have been blocked from accessing a system, the ransomware will demand a fee called the ransom to get the system up and running.
You can never know when a ransomware attack will hit. Therefore, it is crucial to put up the necessary safety measures to help mitigate any attempt of it to your IoT devices and systems. You must continuously backup your data and all the resources held in your systems. A data backup can help you get back to your feet after a successful ransomware attack to your IoT system or devices. You can also have antivirus software or anti-spam software in place with system scans and identify any vulnerabilities.
Data Breaches and Privacy concerns
Data breaches have continued to be a headache and one of the largest threats in the IoT technology and the Internet at large. To date, the amount of data that is continually harnessed and processed by IoT devices such as televisions, speakers, and HVAC systems is too large. The privacy of these data has been a key concern. Incidents of data being sold to third parties without the owner’s permission have been a significant concern.
Rights of privacy have been continuously violated. It is about time we set data privacy rules that will anonymize and redact sensitive data before it is stored and disassociate all the IoT data from the data loads that can be used to identify the owners. Data that is not being used should also be disposed of safely. Data privacy policies should include the extent to which even websites and mobile applications used to access, manage, or process any data from IoT devices. For the safety of online data, proper and strong encryption is required and for that you should buy an SSL from a trusted SSL authority such as Thawte SSL certificates provider. Such measures can help cushion the threats associated with security breaches to data stored in the IoT systems.
Threat Associated with Artificial Intelligence and Automation
With the increase in the popularity of IoT and as more and more IoT systems continue to be used in our everyday lives, the management of IoT data is becoming complicated and hard to deal with, especially from a data collection point of view. With this problem at hand, artificial intelligence and automation tools are becoming popular in the management of data from IoT systems.
As much as the use of artificial intelligence and automation to manage the Internet of Things devices has made things look easy, the problems associated with AI cannot be gainsaid. The use of an autonomous system and artificial intelligence to make decisions that impact the management of large enterprises such as governments, electricity, and the energy sector, with very little or no human intervention, can be too risky. It takes only a single, minimal error in the code or a small system malfunction to make the whole infrastructure to malfunction.
Proper security measures should be put in place to ensure that the AI and automation systems are free from error. Regular system maintenance and repairs could also help identify possible threats and solve them before they grow to become a significant issue. Humans should verify critical decisions made by AI that could have large impacts before being used.
Insufficient testing and Updating
Most tech companies concerned with the building of IoT gadgets do not mind the security of the devices. Their main aim is to make profits at the expense of the security of the buyers. Tech companies will usually not carry out sufficient testing of the gadget to try and identify any security loopholes that might exist in the gadgets. Similarly, some of these devices do not receive enough security updates; some do not have updates. This means that whenever a security vulnerability is found in an IoT device, no proper version of it will be available, which increases the hacking risks.
Tech companies should make it their sole priority to identify loopholes in the existing version of the IoT gadget or system and then come up with a version that addresses the security concerns that existed in the previous versions. Before an IoT gadget is sold to a buyer, it should be adequately tested to figure out how good and secure it is.
As the Internet of Thongs continues to gain popularity, so are the threats associated with it. It is the sole responsibility of an IoT gadget or system owner to put in place measures that could be useful in detecting and preventing such risks. Knowledge of the associated risks is also essential. This article has covered some of the possible risks and challenges associated with IoT and its possible solutions.