We’re surrounded by IoT devices – thermostats, watches, or fitness trackers. What we don’t see is that they’re more than just some cool high tech gadgets meant to improve our lives. They are backdoor entry points for hackers to get into our homes and businesses because they haven’t been properly secured.
As it is estimated to cover 100 billion connected devices by 2025, IoT will completely change the way we drive, work and maybe even do our groceries. It’s been called many things: the internet of threats, the internet of fails or the internet of insecure things. One thing is certain – IoT devices have a long way to go before they are secure.
The risks of connected devices and vulnerabilities or the implementation of an IoT policy have been excessively discussed, but hackers are developing more complex strategies leaving engineers unable to crack the security dilemma. Regardless, security and privacy are top concerns for both software developers and users.
The problem is that security is “not baked into the product, but is instead sprinkled on top,” explains Jim Hunter, co-chair on the Internet of Things Consortium. Ideally, engineers should start incorporating security into products from inception.
Additionally, privacy problems arise from “companies [that] are taking your information to the cloud and then using it to make their product(s) better or selling it to other people.” Users don’t understand the importance of big data and are not educated to follow simple online security guidelines like using strong passwords which shouldn’t be reused.
Due to weak passwords, around 80 percent of IoT devices such as smart TVs, webcams or home security alarms have been exposed to breaches, HP found last year. To avoid this in the future, security specialists insist on the importance of using individual strong passwords and updating software, but also on staying away from public networks, as these devices were not created with a focus on connectivity.