Is IoT Safe? Inspecting Its Threat Landscape

IoT devices’ global market value is estimated to touch the $1 trillion mark in the next five years, which indicates that the Internet of Things (IoT) is growing at an unprecedented rate. The clamor for reliable and secure devices is increasing with every passing day. Equipment manufacturers are under pressure to beef up security on their devices. 

Are IoT devices safe to use in this fast-changing threat landscape? We’re also going to identify the sources of IoT vulnerabilities, advances in the field of IoT security, and solutions to protect your IoT devices. 

Internet of Things – Regaining Control 

Advancements in IoT have shown us that not only humans but also machines interact with the internet, with little or no guidance or intervention from our side. Communication between devices is taking place over the internet, emphasizing creating a secure channel for communication. 

For instance, room temperature-related information is being shared with the thermostat of a refrigerator, and the lighting system is being provided with light related details. It helps these smart devices switch to an optimal mode of operation. Thus, IoT is making our lives easier and attracting consumers in droves. However, this is also compelling the manufacturers to release products that fail to comply with the safety or security standards. Not all the devices are even equipped with basic security features. 

Since technology has still not matured, it has to overcome various challenges before IoT devices can actually be considered entirely safe for usage. From the risks of innate privacy invasions to the hijacking of the IoT devices, threats galore. Here’s a list of security concerns considered to be extremely serious.

Ransomware and Hacking of the IoT Devices

The existing security features on most IoT devices are way below industry standards, which have turned them into sitting ducks for ransomware attacks. A ransomware is malware, which encrypts as well as blocks the user’s access to sensitive files. Trouble begins when the hacker starts demanding money from the victim to restore or unlock the files. This is a growing trend, and now and then, we hear of mass ransomware attacks.

Hackers find it easier to break into a network or device with flawed or outdated security features, which puts healthcare trackers, wearable technology, and even smart homes at greater risks. Hacked devices not only result in immense stress but also huge monetary loss. IoT security is getting increasingly unpredictable because of the sheer number of permutations. 

Lack of Regular Updates and Poor Testing Standards

Companies are often careless about appropriate testing and regular security updates. This opens up the field for hackers to exploit the vulnerabilities and hack into the IoT devices. However, the biggest concern is the ignorance of manufacturers who believe that they have done enough to make their devices secure enough. 

Manufacturers of IoT devices are eager to tap into the market demand and release products without wasting time testing. Updates are often put on the back burner, and the focus shifts onto convincing users to switch to the newer generation of devices. Thus, the old and outdated device is exposed to numerous hacking and malware attacks. 

Another scary possibility is that devices send information to the internet without proper encryption. Now, if you’re using such an unprotected connection, chances are your communications can be intercepted and modified along the way. However, you always have a way out in the form of a Virtual Private Network or VPN. It creates a secure channel between your device and the internet while also helping you stay anonymous online. It performs the latter by concealing your IP address and encrypting all traffic from devices. 

Home Invasions and IoT

Home invasions using vulnerable IoT devices are the most distressing issue. It makes us realize that we’re not secure even inside our homes. The IoT devices like security cameras and smart speakers could be exploited by third parties to monitor your actions. It is a possibility that hackers could retrieve footage or recordings, which is a very uncomfortable thought. 

Threats come from piggybacking with home automation and low-security features of IoT devices that give entry to unauthorized individuals by broadcasting IP addresses.  These addressees are easily searchable, and hackers use the latest ways of IP tracking. 

Other prominent security threats posed by the IoT devices include financial crimes, remote access to smart vehicles, counterfeit and rogue IoT devices, and lack of awareness. The only way to prevent such hacking attempts or attacks is to buy machines from manufacturers who offer regular software updates, install a VPN, and learn more about users’ privacy rights. You need to be aware of the IoT domain changes to prepare yourself for some of the threats.