Increased Connectivity Can Potentially Mean an Increased Risk of Attack

In 2013, there were approximately 9.9 million objects and/or devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT), and by the year 2020, that figure is expected to jump astronomically. According to the Spark Labs Global Ventures’ Internet of Things & Hardware Industry Report 2016, Verizon predicts that the number of B2B IoT connections will increase to 5.4 billion by 2020. According to Gartner, the overall number is predicted to be 20.8 billion by 2020. Virtually all the devices which we use around the home and in the work place to make life easier will be connected to the Internet, which will present some amazing opportunities for innovation and enhanced usability. On the other hand, it will also provide a plethora of targets for hacking by the criminal-minded, and open up a whole new area of risk for security systems.

There are a number of threats which will come into play with the coming increased connectivity of the IoT, including the theft of confidential or private data, unauthorized controlling of devices, and the denial of service to applications associated with the devices. While the security threats to household items are of great concern, just imagine the potential for a cyber attacker to take control of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Systems (SCADA) or an Industrial Control System (ICS)!

Security Challenges Presented by the IoT

Some of the challenges presented by ubiquitous connection to the IoT are the same existing challenges for infrastructures administered on a large scale:

  • Authentication:Users, devices, and applications must all be authenticated as legitimate and authorized for access.
  • Auditing:An accurate log must be in place to track all activity, so threats can be identified.
  • Administration:Security practices must be in place throughout all points of the network.
  • Encryption/decryption:Critical data needs to be encrypted against interception by unauthorized individuals.
  • Data integrity:Critical systems must be protected against corruption or hijacking by cyber attackers.

On the other hand, there are also some brand new issues posed by global connectivity to the IoT:

  • Wider range of device types:In the coming years, almost every conceivable kind of device could be connected to the IoT, which means that some kind of security scheme must be devised for its protection. Since every single device provides a security surface which can be exploited by criminals, it must be factored into the overall security scheme.
  • Less controlled environment:Security measures are not the same all around the globe, but devices connected to the IoT will be global in their establishment. This creates the potential for exploitation at the weaker security points, and because of universal connectivity, any exploited weak point has the potential to affect almost everyone.
  • More attack points: The sheer number of devices online will require a staggering level of commitment to security, because each of those devices will represent a potential attack point for criminal-minded individuals.

MSSP to Manage All Security Threats

All these issues can be managed by a forward-thinking managed security services provider (MSSP), using available security data and a comprehensive program of analytics. A highly reputable and effective provider like GlassHouse Systems is on the alert for every new security threat. We aim to deliver the best protection for all your potentially vulnerable security surfaces.

Contact us to learn more or leave a comment below to tell us about your security challenges. We will be happy to discuss suitable solutions and offer managed services delivered by our experienced team.