February 2019

Why Cybersecurity Will Change the Internet of Things

by Anthony Coggine

The Internet of Things has done something truly miraculous. It has allowed us to interact with others in ways we never thought possible before. With the Internet of Things, everything is connecting, communicating, transmitting, and analyzing.

Every object is full of data and ready to share data. The Internet of Things is something that has arisen quite naturally as computerization of everyday objects becomes more and more quotidian.

Everything is connected everywhere
We’re surrounded by smart. Smartphones, smart TVs, smart toasters, and doorbells. Anything and everything can fit a processing unit inside of it and everyone and everything is connected to the internet.

In the short term, we’ve some immediate returns on productivity. When every smart device is communicating, self-repairing, and learning, things start going a lot smoother. From business processes to managing the home, smart devices connected under the umbrella of IoT are changing things for the better. Duties are simpler to accomplish, tasks easier to organize, and management is more enjoyable.

The Internet of Things leaves us open to cyber attacks
One key drawback of having all of these systems constantly connected to the internet is the threat of cyber attacks. We are far more susceptible to cyber attacks when our everything is connected everywhere. Hacking into your smart toaster, for example, could lead to finding a network node. This node could lead to the leakage of sensitive personal information. As we go into the future, these risks must be addressed.

The implications of this are manifold. One thing that will be persistent in this constantly changing space will be that defense strategies will continue to evolve. In order to prevent hackers from having access to important data or even controlling certain tasks, the sophistication of defense mechanisms within IoT devices must be top tier.

How encryption can help
One strategy that is currently being employed is emphasizing the importance of user awareness, education, and safety. Storing and generating passwords will likely be made easier as well as to make individual users less exploitable. Securing passwords and attempting to educate users is only half the battle, however.

What we’ve learned from Blockchain
Technologies like Blockchain light the way for defense strategies. With Blockchain, you’ve got a global, distributed ledger — one that is immutable and secure. How is a large secure infrastructure like this one managed and maintained? Blockchain is built on encrypted keys and some other well-understood cryptographic principles. These principles will continue to be adopted in a piecemeal fashion and improved upon as the years’ march on and hacking attempts grow more bothersome.

The Internet of Things: liability and innovation must be balanced
The question of liability will further innovation. Companies will look to remove blame by enacting safety protocols. When we’re interconnected, shared blame can be a starting point for true innovation.

“The broad range of connectable home devices—TVs, home thermostats, door locks, home alarms, smart home hubs, garage door openers, to name a few—creates a myriad of connection points for hackers to gain entry into IoT ecosystems, access customer information, or even penetrate manufacturers’ back-end systems,” Deloitte, the massive advisory firm, declares.

As the opportunities for IoT open up, our risk management efforts must double, Deloitte suggests. “The IoT is forcing many business leaders to reassess their decentralized approaches to cyber risk management.” Traditional architectures and security protocols won’t work in IoT ecosystems. Therefore, we can expect cyber risk and IoT to evolve as they will continue to demand more from each other.

As the IoT and cybersecurity technologies continuously advance. In the parallels are hackers who are constantly creating new bugs and exploits to crash systems and steal data.

Conclusion
For cybersecurity companies, the difficulty truly lies in creating tools that will protect all of the different devices that are now integral to an individual’s life. There are no more households with just one computer or a person with just one internet connected device. We must protect the millions upon millions of devices that are used every second of the day and that job alone is both awesome and tremendous.

Cybersecurity, however, will have to evolve to meet the new security demands brought on by the Internet of Things. Now a company must account for interconnected camera systems, telephones, automobiles and even refrigerators.

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