Internet of Things Cyber Security Threats and Counter Measures

We are currently living in the post-PC era where everyone is connected to the internet through smartphones. No one wants to have a phone which is not accessing internet.  For one to stay a day without accessing social media, would feel like he has missed a lot and has disconnected him or herself from the world.

Internet of things, commonly known as IoT, is the interconnection and coordination of web-enabled electrical devices with one another over the internet, which gather, send and perform on information from the environment.  It has evolved into Internet of everything due to the fact that it is now supporting and comprising of like everything from wireless sensor network , computer system, virtual world, virtual meetings( interactive technologies) to cloud computing. The advancement in technology has enabled innovations of different diverse technological solutions, from e-commerce to e-health.

With all that in place, it comes up with its challenges. Internet of things has made it easy for cyber-attacks to be more vulnerable to security threats. 

Viruses and Malware threat

Virus and malware continue to be a great threat to Internet of things due to the fact that there is no antivirus and firewall that can prevent the whole network from such security threat. To make matters worse the major key components of IoT do not have security features of installing security software like antiviruses.  Therefore, when any virus or malware is attacks, it is easily spread through the internet just because most of the major component devices don’t have security features.

System updates happen to few IoT devices and many of the remaining ones do not get updated leaving many of them vulnerable to any risk, just because they haven’t been updated. Therefore, when malware, a malicious program which is written into systems for permicious purposes, attacks, it can take down the whole systems of an organization. One true example is Mirai malware which was the most destructive in IoT era. It attacked on 21st October 2016. It skimmed through the Internet of Things devices trying to login into it and infecting the devices. It succeeded and big part of internet went down together with Twitter, Netflix, CNN, Reddit and many more.

Ease for the Hackers

By 2020, we will have over 40 billion interconnected devices. This possesses great risk since security is a major threat and challenge of IoT, even though it may look like as an advantage. As many devices are increasingly getting connected to the internet, the security risks increases day by day, this is because no one is taking security into account when developing IoT devices. Therefore, all these interconnected devices are prone to hackers, who find it interesting helping them to come up with ways on how to benefit from unsecured network. In addition, developers of this IoT software and devices also play a big role too in encouraging hackers. They put default passwords that are easy and predictable like “admin”, making it easy for hackers living door open for anyone to harm the whole system. Authentication is another big challenge because in internet of things, there is no authentication. It is easy for anyone to access internet leading to endless security and privacy problem.

Things to do to make IoT better

For everyone to be able to enjoy services of Internet of things, security and privacy should be well taken care such that no one feels threatened when using IoT. Business needs systems and devices that are not vulnerable to risks and need to be secured from risks that come with IoT. The three layers of Internet of things; Devices, gateway and data services need to have surety measures and controls that address each layer according to its needs. For the device security, developers need to provide authentication, integrity and privacy to the users. It is very important for the user to feel secure by login to their accounts using passwords that are unique and complex in such a manner that no one can hack.