Security and the Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) poses unique challenges when it comes to protecting smart, connected devices. If devices are hacked, they could cause serious problems. It’s critical to understand what these challenges are and how you can overcome them. A secure IoT solution requires complete collaboration among the infrastructure, platform, developer, and device controller.

Some of the security challenges the IoT faces include user management in the cloud, device variety, and application vulnerability.

User Management in the Cloud

Cloud permissions are typically granted to one human using one application, there are firm boundaries around the authentication and authorization processes. When the IoT is in the cloud as well, devices can authenticate themselves as a human or on behalf of a human. This means a much more complex permission process as well as a trust model must be put in place to maintain security.

A big difference between the cloud and the IoT is that the IoT (typically) has more devices than the cloud. For a hacker to do serious damage, they don’t need to penetrate all of the devices, just a small number of them or even a single weakly protected device.

Variety of Devices

The varying types of smart, connected devices present immense opportunity for damage if a hacker successfully overtakes them. Organizations must ensure their devices and applications are secure from attackers even with knowledge of IoT operations.

Researchers have found they have could interfere with driving an automobile, the functionality of a pacemaker, and even changing the position of rifle’s aim. Your device security is critical.

Application Vulnerabilities

Hackers could go as far as gaining instant access to high-level IoT deployments. They can do this by targeting security weaknesses in the firmware and/or applications running on embedded systems. If your IoT implementation is not properly managed, a compromise of a single device could compromise your entire system.

Environments where devices are deployed through other organization’s networks are especially important. Your organization’s ability to lessen security issues among devices will decrease if you lose control leaving your applications vulnerable.

Now that you’ve read through some of the security challenges the IoT faces, you may want to take a moment and continue reading to learn how to protect your digital data, as well as security best practices: authenticate, authorize, and audit. Security risks associated with the IoT are growing, but you can take preventative action to ensure the security of your IoT devices and deployments.

Rob Black, CISSP Senior Director of Product Management at PTC wrote the White Paper, “Protecting smart devices and applications throughout the IoT ecosystem,” where he reviews IoT security best practices. You can read it here.

Learn more about IoT security