Security, Technology

Security Measures For IoT Devices and Their Role in Data Privacy

People who live in western countries have been using IoT devices for years now. Smart thermostats, smart lightbulbs, cameras for doors –...

avatar Written by Henry Bell · 3 min read >
Security Measures For IoT Devices and Their Role in Data Privacy

People who live in western countries have been using IoT devices for years now. Smart thermostats, smart lightbulbs, cameras for doors – these are just a few examples of IoT devices. People with surface-level knowledge of technology might not know how these devices work, how they’re interconnected, and the risks associated with them. IoT systems aren’t just the physical gadgets you see in your homes. The systems also feature servers, the internet, and vast databases to store the collected information on the cloud. Data collection is what allows these gadgets to be so efficient, but it is also their biggest weakness.

The importance of cybersecurity for IoT

Because of the vast amount of data collected by IoT devices, the businesses behind these gadgets must ensure that the users’ privacy is protected at all costs. In fact, the safety of their data is one of the biggest worries for current and potential users. Not having proper security measures can expose an IoT company to huge liabilities. If your company aims to release an IoT device, it’s a good idea to consult with cybersecurity experts first. Despite the huge risks, some companies still can’t keep up the pace and continue to experience security breaches. The list of companies who exposed their user data contains some big names, such as Home Depot and Target. Selling private user data is very lucrative, and hackers are trying every day to come up with creative ways to steal private data. Fortunately, organizations are waking up to the threat of cyberattacks.

The constant threat of malicious attacks has forced most IT professionals to develop a skill set for protecting sensitive user data. Still, unless the person is a cybersecurity professional, his or her knowledge will be limited to their domain. Companies need cybersecurity consultants who see the big picture and can implement systems that resist malicious attacks. Protecting the data collected through IoT devices is even more difficult than normal. This vulnerability can be explained by two factors. One, the IoT systems have a much larger attack surface. Second, the gadgets themselves are more vulnerable to security breaches than data servers.

IoT cybersecurity vulnerabilities

Interconnected gadgets are very widespread today, but if we believe the experts, it has the potential to grow even further. If one day, the time comes when there are billions of interconnected gadgets all around the world, the companies making these devices must be prepared to stand their ground against hackers. We should not underestimate the risk of data exposure through IoT devices, which are even more susceptible to hacker attacks than regular servers. They are vulnerable for multiple reasons.

First of all, some IoT gadgets are sold to budget-conscious consumers, which means they have to compromise on physical security features that could increase their security. For budget reasons, these devices will have less powerful chips as well, which means fewer resources for encryption. A lot of times hackers will be able to physically get a hold of IoT units, which could help them figure out a way to steal the data.

Worries about security are only made worse by the fact that there are no universal standards for manufacturing IoT devices. These gadgets come in many different forms, from tiny chips to large appliances, so it’s hard for companies to agree on universal standards. The qualification of professionals working on security for these devices will vary as well. For some manufacturers of IoT devices, there is no way to ensure the proper safety of the devices. Even if they do, the best they can do is to ensure the safety of IoT devices while they’re released to the public. After a few years, hackers might come up with new ways to break the security of the system. There’s no way manufacturers can prepare for advances in hacking.

That’s why it’s so important to develop IoT devices with multiple layers of security. Even if hackers manage to get through one of them, there will be still something between them and private user data. If you want to learn more about protecting IoT gadgets, talk with cybersecurity consultants.

Which IoT assets are the most important to protect?

After learning about the potential threats to IoT systems, most companies want to know how to protect their systems. Because of the fundamental nature of IoT, the gadgets themselves, the gateway, the user, and the network that these devices use are all interconnected. Most importantly, companies should prioritize protecting the data collected by IoT gadgets. It is extremely important to ensure the safety of the data while it is generated, processed, and sent to the server. To achieve this, companies must use the core cybersecurity principles used today. If there are no qualified security professionals within the organization, it’s a good idea to get the help of cybersecurity consultants. In essence, users’ data can be protected by the same protocols that prevent the theft of credit card numbers.

Sometimes manufacturers don’t prioritize certain IoT utilities enough to add security measures that would increase their cost per unit. This is a major mistake, as it creates vulnerability not only for the gadget itself but the entire system as well. Once the security of the device is compromised, malware can easily branch out and take control of all the other devices connected to the same WiFi network.

In essence, if you’ re a company that builds IoT devices, do not try to save money on any part that collects, sends, receives, or processes data. Also, once the security of any internet-connected device is compromised, the entire network is in danger as well. In IoT, the security of the entire system is as strong as the security of its weakest link.

Summary

In this article, we discussed the threats facing IoT device manufacturers today. Hopefully, our guide helped you understand the role of the device, network, protocols, and their importance. By now, you should be aware of the issues concerning the safety of user data as well.

It’s not too difficult to secure vast amounts of private data collected by IoT devices. Reach out to qualified cybersecurity consultants, who can help you take precautions against data leaks.

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Written by Henry Bell
Henry Bell is the Head of Product at Vendorland. He is a business technologist driving transformative growth through digital technology strategies.
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