To What Extent Can We Ensure the Safety of Devices Connected to the Internet?

With the proliferation of 5G networks, mobile users can expect more than just improved speed and minimal latency. The Internet of Things (IoT) is poised to achieve universal adoption as soon as the fifth-generation wireless technology is comprehensively established.

According to projections, the global number of Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices is expected to nearly triple by the close of 2020, hitting a staggering 25.4 billion IoT devices by 2030 (as compared to 8.74 billion in 2023). This notable surge will bring about a multitude of intelligent gadgets that will drive smart homes and cities, ushering in the age of sophisticated urbanization.

It’s crucial to acknowledge that this forecast comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. While the Internet of Things (IoT) can simplify our lives and improve efficiency, it also poses a significant security danger. With an incredibly large number of internet-connected devices, cybercriminals now have more chances than ever before to infiltrate these devices. Given that cybersecurity is now a foremost concern for businesses worldwide, it’s imperative to examine the measures that can be taken to safeguard such a vast network of devices.

The Issue of Safety

The potential hazards associated with the Internet of Things (IoT) go beyond the sheer volume of connected devices. Generally, the devices in the IoT have limited memory and computing capabilities since much of the data storage and processing occurs on remote servers, which eliminates the need for local copies.

The use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices is gaining popularity due to the benefits of edge computing. This technology enables devices to collect and analyze data locally, without the need for transmission to remote servers, which leads to faster response times and lower bandwidth utilization. Nonetheless, as these IoT devices store sensitive information, they become increasingly susceptible to malicious hacking.

The potential dangers to IoT devices are significant, and these are further intensified by the prevalence of ransomware attacks. Additionally, businesses must be mindful of other security menaces such as denial of service (DoS) attacks, passive eavesdropping, SQL injections, and zero-day vulnerabilities.

The hazards that the extensive array of dangers present to individuals are a matter of serious concern. Manufacturers and warehouses are progressively adopting IoT devices into their industrial infrastructure, while the energy industry is making consequential investments in the Internet of Things. Additionally, cities are increasingly depending on IoT technology for traffic management and other applications. If any disruptions were to occur in these networks, the consequences could be far-reaching and potentially calamitous.

It comes as no surprise that academics, technical experts, nearshore software development firms, and political figures are all promoting enhanced system security for a technology that is expected to become a significant facet of our daily lives.

What are our current choices?

It is crucial that we comprehend the potential dangers that the Internet of Things (IoT) poses and take vital measures to mitigate them. Fortunately, there are initiatives underway to bolster IoT security, such as the Cybersecurity Improvement Act put forth by Congress. Unfortunately, there is still more that needs to be done to tackle the issue of IoT security, which ultimately falls under the purview of device manufacturers.

It is evident that a comprehensive approach is required to safeguard such an extensive network. This approach must go beyond merely increasing awareness and contemplating potential legislative remedies. Consequently, a risk management strategy appears to be a suitable solution, as it can identify all connected devices and their associated risks, and provide preventive measures and response plans in the event of an incident.

It is not feasible to standardize approaches to different Internet of Things networks. Nonetheless, extensive adoption of risk management strategies could furnish stakeholders with a roadmap to facilitate the standardization of methods, exchange of successful protocols, and sharing of solutions.

Several potential components that could form a comprehensive knowledge base on Internet of Things (IoT) security have been identified by experts. These include the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to conduct detailed and real-time assessments of all devices linked to the network, division of IoT devices to enable greater control, use of biometrics for authentication, implementation of multi-layered security solutions, utilization of cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms to enhance processing efficiency, and dissemination of threat intelligence among different organizations.

The fundamental issue

It is crucial to emphasize the observation made by my colleague David Russo in his article ‘We need to address the Internet of Things’ that the IoT has certain inherent weaknesses. Specifically, as David pointed out, numerous IoT companies are not dedicated to delivering high-quality products, but rather rely on users as ‘beta testers’.

The manufacturing of Internet of Things (IoT) devices encompasses numerous elements, such as hardware and software design and development, cloud backend security, and regular upkeep and updates. Unfortunately, many IoT firms adopt a reactive approach rather than actively planning for the aforementioned factors and addressing issues as they arise. This leaves the IoT vulnerable to potential security susceptibilities that can only be rectified through a comprehensive method for producing these products and a proactive approach to their maintenance.

It is apparent that the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem is not impervious to the hazards associated with daily life. Despite the suggested remedies and standards, it is impossible to create a completely secure infrastructure. Nevertheless, as individuals in the IT community, our primary goal must remain centered on developing the most advanced security protocols for the IoT. In order to validate further investment in the IoT, it is imperative that we attain a satisfactory level of security.

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