The Internet of Things is rapidly capturing the attention of mainstream consumers both domestically and abroad. With a primary focus on interconnectivity, IoT-enabled devices like smart appliances and their corresponding smartphone apps are already making our daily lives easier. Such products are becoming so popular that it will soon be difficult to imagine life without them. As useful as the IoT is, it’s also a prime target for hackers, cyber criminals and potential identity thieves.
A Look at the Common Threats in Cyberspace Today
If you have any amount of experience browsing the Internet, you’ve likely encountered a standard DDoS attack. Technically known as a distributed denial-of-service, this is one of the most common threats facing websites and IoT-oriented services today. Unfortunately, it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to IoT threats.
Systems that are currently connected to the IoT are also prone to botnet attacks. Slightly more sophisticated and damaging than a DDoS campaign, a single botnet will actively seek out other devices to create a network of infected devices. All these devices are fully controllable by the hacker, who can use them for any number of nefarious purposes.
There’s also the issue of data privacy and identity theft. More than 1 billion consumer records were leaked or made available by hackers in 2014 alone, and this number is on the rise. With an increasing number of public-facing companies now experiencing the backlash of their failures in data security and protection, it’s apparent that anyone entering the current IoT landscape needs to make cybersecurity a top priority.
How to Develop a Secure IoT Plan
Given the evolving state of the IoT, it’s difficult to create a standardized approach to integration. Instead, make sure your plan is flexible enough to accommodate any future advancements or new trends.
- Identify Make sure your software and hardware systems are up-to-date and that they’re able to protect all of your assets. Using a spreadsheet app to keep a database of records isn’t that efficient, for example, so make sure you’re using the right tools for each job. Apart from ensuring data security, maintaining updated infrastructure also boosts your overall system performance and helps your competitiveness.
- Monitor and maintain your system. The IoT isn’t something you can just up and forget. It keeps the future security and integrity of your system. This keeps you abreast of any impending threats and could help you prevent new attacks from occurring.
- Realize you’re not invincible. It’s also important to remember every system is vulnerable to hackers and cyber attacks on some level. Even the most highly secured and encrypted networks are susceptible to sophisticated hacks. Although cyber security experts new attacks and try to stay ahead of the hackers, there are just too many backdoors, exploits and malicious programs to fight.
- Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to contact a professional for their assistance. Some companies use an entire team of dedicated IT experts to safeguard their systems and maintain data privacy on behalf of their customers and employees alike.
Staying Ahead of the Curve — and Your Competition
Citing concerns around data privacy and online security, many businesses are hesitant to embrace the IoT. For those who do want to push the boundaries of their IT landscape and test the waters of the IoT, it’s important to have a relevant cyber security established before making the transition. Not only will you find more support amongst your coworkers and peers, but you’ll also put your customers at ease, too.