Top 10 IoT Security Challenges to Expect in 2020 | By Cathy Trimidal

Top 10 IoT Security Challenges to Expect in 2020

The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the most hyped expressions in the industry. According to Gartner, we will have about 20 billion connected devices by 2020. And these devices are not limited to computers and smartphones. They also include other dedicated-functional devices, such as jet engines, vending machines, and cars, among others. The same report shows that the IoT market in Europe alone is expected to reach €242,222 million by 2020. 

However, the bullish forecast and the rising influences of IoT has not come without shortcomings. While IoT is expected to play a pivotal role in most digital transformations, there are critical security challenges that we cannot push away. IoT technologies have broken down the traditional view of security. Unfortunately, many manufacturers still compete on who to deliver the best device to consumers first, overlooking security issues, such as data access and management. 

In this article, we will analyze the top 10 IoT security challenges to expect in 2020. Some of these security hurdles might slow down the market, while others will probably shape industry evolution. 

1. Rapid Proliferation of IoT Devices

One of the biggest IoT security challenges is keeping up with the production of IoT-connected devices. The concern is not that the IoT devices are increasing each day. The issue is that these devices are not protected. Most small and medium-sized businesses continue to connect several unprotected objects, such as smart lighting, barcode readers, smart locks, security cameras, and HVAC systems to their IT networks. 

2. It is Hard to Protect What You Can’t See

Hackers are proactively looking for new techniques to penetrate IoT devices, so organizations should always find vulnerabilities and fix them as soon as they occur. Predicting and preventing these threats is even more desirable. 

However, the primary attack vector is usually the invisibility of networks. The fact that most enterprises can’t detect devices on their system means that they won’t protect what they cannot see. 

3. Default Passwords and Brute-Forcing

Many manufacturers supply consumers with products that have default login information, such as the username and passwords. This information is what cybercriminals are looking for to carry out a brute-force attack on the affected devices.

The Mirai botnet serves as an example of the issues that come with selling devices with default credentials and not informing the consumers to change them. The most worrying thing is that most of the default passwords are painfully obvious, such that even an ordinary user can guess them. So, with inadequate out-of-the-box security features, consumers ought to take security measures into their own hands.  

4. Lack of Proper Testing and Updating

As the need for connected devices increases, more manufacturers are working hard to produce new ones. The only challenge is that they do not pay enough attention to security. Most of these devices rarely get updates. Sometimes, they don’t even get updates at all. What it means is that these devices are only secure at the time of purchase, but remain open to attacks once hackers find security loopholes. In other words, if no one fixes the security issues on time, for both software and hardware, these products remain vulnerable to attacks. 

5. Increased Attacks Targeting IoT Devices

As the IoT technology continues to advance, so does the complexity of attacks. In fact, IoT devices were one of the main cyberattack vectors in 2018. It seems the more interconnected devices we have, the more interesting it gets for the attackers, which calls for the industry to come up with more effective security initiatives. 

Fortunately, most of the security vulnerabilities in 2020 will be the ones known to IT security professionals. Organizations should, therefore, stay focused on fixing the risks they already know. It could be as simple as installing the right Windows error solutions with malware protection capabilities. 

6. Data Privacy and Security

In today’s interconnected world, data privacy and security are becoming increasingly challenging. The main issue is that data gets transferred between multiple devices. At one moment, it may be stored on a computer, and the next moment it is on the web or the cloud. As you know, not all devices or platforms that transmit data are secure. It gets worse when you consider that the information goes through the internet, which could leak it out to criminals. 

Organizations should design privacy and compliance rules that anonymize personal information before storing it. They should then apply this practice to the web, mobile, and cloud applications, including services that are used to access and process data on IoT devices. 

7. Poorly Encrypted Communications

Encryption is one of the great ways to keep attackers away from accessing crucial data. Unfortunately, it is also one of the leading IoT security challenges. Currently, most devices lack process and storage capabilities found in standard computers. What this means is that cybercriminals can easily manipulate the algorithms that are supposed to protect the devices. If no one addresses the issue, then encryption won’t help much. 

8. Larger and More Frequent IoT Botnets Targeting Cryptomining

A botnet can access data, send spam, and allow access to devices without users’ knowledge. An example of such attacks is the 2016 Mirai, a botnet powered by over 60 login credentials. 

The recent rise in currency valuation, coupled with the ongoing mining spree, would make it too attractive for attackers, trying to benefit from the crypto-craze. The Blockchain framework is usually resistant to hacking, but there have been successful attempts to penetrate the system and extract usernames and passwords. Actually, the main vulnerability is the Blockchain app development, and not the Blockchain itself. So, IoT botnets and Blockchain breaches will continue to pose a high risk to IoT structures, applications, and platforms that rely on  Blockchain technology.  

9. IoT Automation Challenges

As IoT devices continue to make way into our lives, organizations will reach a point where they will be dealing with thousands or even millions of devices at once. Obviously, it would be difficult for anyone to manage the massive amount of data produced by these interconnected devices, especially from networking and data collection perspectives. 

Network and IoT admins will, therefore, need to use AI tools to automate data management. However, the use of these tools to handle big data can pose a security threat if not managed well. A minor misconfiguration of AI tools can trigger an outage.  

10. Unauthorized Home Access

Perhaps one of the places where we might feel the impact of IoT the most is in our homes. Today, most developers fit new buildings with IoT devices. While this might be a good thing, it can also be a security concern. Not everyone is knowledgeable about the best practices that should be maintained about IoT security. Some IoT devices you use at home can expose your IP address, thus revealing your residential address. Anyone who has access to this information can use it to carry out criminal activities. 

The Way Forward.

We are less than a year away from 2020, so we shouldn’t underestimate the impact of the above security challenges. Fortunately, some industry leaders have already led the way in coming up with proactive solutions. Most software vendors have added more security features, such as AI and analytics, to the IoT security framework. Besides this, they are improving other technologies, such as patch management, network protection, system development, and authentication mechanisms, to meet the emerging IoT security challenges.  

Besides adopting proactive security technologies, individuals and small businesses should use software solutions to protect their IoT equipment. These solutions could include smart firewalls, antivirus solutions, and privileged access controls on connected devices. Efficient devices are essential for managing IoT security. Fortunately, there is a variety of trustworthy PC and Mac cleaning software that you can use to get rid of junk and virus on your system. There are also several cleaner apps for Android that can help you clean your mobile devices. For more information on how to protect your computer and other devices, be sure to check Software Tested.

Author Bio:

A Computer Engineer by degree and a writer by profession, Cathy Trimidal writes for Software Tested and Outbyte. For years now, she has contributed articles focusing on the trends in IT, VPN, web apps, SEO, and digital marketing. Although she spends most of her days living in a virtual realm, she still finds time to satisfy her infinite list of interests.

November 4, 2019

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