As new technologies emerge, they bring new benefits—along with unintended consequences and threats. This is the case with the internet of things (IoT).
A new breed of hackers and technologically-advanced criminals has arisen, causing hardware and software developers from every industry to re-evaluate how they approach IoT cybersecurity.
What Is the Internet of Things? (IoT)
IoT stands for the Internet of Things—it represents the connection of devices and appliances to the internet.
With rapidly accelerating demand in sectors like healthcare, manufacturing, and even entire smart cities, the market value of IoT is projected to grow globally from $478.36 billion in 2022 to a staggering $2.46 trillion by 2029.
Below are just a handful of the hundreds of IoT devices that have grown in popularity in recent years:
- Wearable monitoring devices
- Autonomous vehicles
- Smart devices like refrigerators and TVs
- GPS-enabled navigational devices
- Devices like Alexa and Siri
- Door locks
Businesses use IoT sensors to save on electricity costs, to alert customers of special deals through their GPS devices, and to collect deep data on their spending habits and lifestyle choices.
These innovations are cost-effective ways to boost customer engagement, but they also expose people to security risks. So, what is IoT cybersecurity‘s role in protecting people from the malicious misuse of emerging technologies?
To answer this question, let’s look at the nature of sophisticated cyberattacks that call for better cybersecurity measures.
What Are IoT Cyberattacks?
The most notorious IoT cyberattack to date occurred in 2016—the Mirai Botnet. This was a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack which caused major websites like CNN, Netflix, and Twitter to go down—sites that were thought to use the most cutting-edge protections.
Usually, a DDoS attack will hijack a network of computers to overwhelm targeted websites with traffic. But the Mirai Botnet went after IoT devices, weaponizing smart cameras and internet routers—opening eyes to our susceptibility to cyberattacks.
If It’s Connected to the Internet, It’s Susceptible to a Cyberattack
There have been attacks on everything from security cameras to our water supply, and the list is only increasing, with a 77% global rise in IoT malware in 2022.
Cyber-criminals target hospitals for ransomware, using life-saving equipment for leverage. Wearable medical devices like heart rate monitors and insulin pumps are also at risk.
What Is the Definition of IoT Cybersecurity?
In the words of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, cybersecurity is about “…protecting networks, devices, and data from unauthorized access or criminal use…”—including the protection of user confidentiality.
IoT cybersecurity is serious enough that global agencies and industry sectors are now required by law to maintain a minimum level of cybersecurity. This is true for:
What Are Some of the More Pressing IoT Cybersecurity Challenges?
For every life-enhancing feature, data is sent or retrieved that can be intercepted and used for criminal purposes. The need for security is immediate—but security is dangerously behind the curve.
Manufacturers are pressured to roll out new products while facing budget constraints. All too often, this leaves security at too low a priority.
6 Things Businesses Should Do to Improve Their IoT Cybersecurity
There are proactive cybersecurity practices every business should train employees to use—like avoiding phishing scams and protecting their passwords. But what should businesses do to shore up better IoT and cybersecurity protection procedures?
The following are six essential measures IT companies can take to remain vigilant against cybersecurity threats:
- Work with experts to secure their networks.
- Create consistent firmware updates and other software patches for devices that can utilize them.
- Implement security gateways—especially where devices aren’t capable of firmware or patches.
- Use powerful application programming interfaces (APIs) for protection and updates.
- Use network access control (NAC) to inventory connected IoT devices.
- Develop and utilize decentralized blockchain networks to secure communications between devices and software.
Collaborate with the Right IoT Cybersecurity Development Team
IoT cybersecurity will continue to be among the most pressing necessities in web application development, so choosing the right team for your long-term staff augmentation is crucial.
Excel SoftSources provides nearshore developers for data-sensitive IoT cybersecurity projects. Let us know how we can assist with your long-term IoT development needs. Fill out our convenient contact form so we can get in touch right away.