Investing in an IoT system is a risk that needs to be bolstered by a systemic readiness review and attack-based status monitoring strategy.
The Internet of Things is driving transformations in major operational models by connecting assets, people, products and services, creating the possibility to make real-time decisions and deliver personalized outcomes.
The technology holds much promise in machine-to-machine frameworks that are increasingly used in critical industries like oil and gas, transportation, healthcare and the manufacturing sector. By the year 2020, machine sensors are expected to dominate the IoT ecosystem, contributing up to 40% of the total data generated. The industrial sector is exploring ways to integrate plant floors with control systems for capabilities in automation and data handling. Wearable smartbands and trackers that monitor fitness and health are piquing the interest of healthcare providers and researchers. Ingestible pill sensors and other devices are under experimentation for the remote access they offer to real time data throughout an ordinary day in the life of a patient. Undeniably, smart devices and sensors are proving their pertinence in critical missions.
As the focus shifts from the ostensible glamour of a smart gadget over to its functionality, organizations will be faced with the task of ensuring that the functional soundness of their systems is on point. When we look at connected devices from the perspective of smart cities, what really matters is how secure the data streams all along the path they take. As far as IoT is concerned, 99.9% secure = 100% vulnerable.
Data integrity is the one parameter that will determine the usability of the ‘electronic skin’ that Neil Gross envisioned. Accurate data is the one factor that can turn a cool toy into a useful tool.
Data is the life-blood of any monitoring or control system. For data analytical tools to deliver accurate and actionable insights, data needs to stay unaltered along the path it takes from the systems and applications to the cloud and back again.
(Reference: The Internet Of Things Is About Data, Not Things, John Fruehe on Forbes)
Understanding threats to IoT data security
The data that devices record, typically passes through gateways, servers and applications before coming to rest in the data centers. Securing the route of this data in motion depends on loss prevention measures that are consistent and multi-faceted. What most systems overlook is adequate security at the sensor level, where implementation of security measures is typically a complex task. As a result of vulnerabilities in the networking protocols and devices, the streams of data (including service data logs that are sent back to the manufacturer) could be altered or distorted apart from being leaked away. As is obvious, faulty/tampered data leads to bad decisions or in the worst case, fatal errors as demonstrated by the Medjack attack vector.
One simple way to ensure that your data stays intact is to look beyond standard compliance norms and really dig deep enough to understand the threat sources in your IT asset ecosystem.
Security stature assessment is not a one-time task. However, an overall risk assessment to understand weak points can pave the way for the development of your very own security incident prevention strategy.
Issues impacting IoT data security
On an average, about 2.3 trillion gigabytes of raw big data is generated every day and collected by systems across the world. Disappointingly, most organizations do not have access to adequate guidance in life-cycle maintenance for their IoT devices. They also rarely have a defined process for performing secure updates, configuring and patching for firmware. This can jeopardize data integrity since these devices open holes within your cloud space when communicating with third-party data analytic systems.
The lack of standardization and commonality in drives, transport protocols, operating systems and platforms makes the IoT environs prone to complexities in configuration and compatibility, opening loopholes for eavesdropping. The influx of several portable device controllers has made traffic monitoring even more indispensable.
Weak links in the IoT interconnections are often situational and not readily identifiable. A pertinent risk management strategy requires threat awareness at the various subsystems of your infrastructure.
Even before implementing a new IoT initiative, an exhaustive impact study is crucial to validate your stature with regard to data privacy. A deeper understanding of the threat environment studied in the light of evolving stealth attack patterns will yield actionable insights.
Narrowing down to contextual threat sources
When legacy industrial systems are networked with enterprise IT, it gives rise to operational challenges and limitations. An organization investing in IoT devices has to exercise caution and ensure that the equipment they procure is from a manufacturer who invests in a secure development process. Disappointingly, only a few makers think security through. HP Security Research report last year hinted that about 70% of the ten most popular IoT devices had at least 25 vulnerabilities each. These vulnerabilities seem to be crop up from weak points in network security, application security, mobile security, and communication protocols, all of which could snowball into something graver. The most common vulnerabilities assessed on the basis of OWASP Top 10 include inadequate authentication, insecure web interfaces and cursory encryption.
The simplest way to counteract IoT data security challenges is a block by block appraisal of web solutions, interfaces and their implementation in your enterprise.
Aleph Tav Technologies strives to enable pioneering ideas to take shape and stay successful. With proven techniques and contemporary hacks, our experts are poised to help you leverage our cost-efficient methods.
If you are looking for a responsive security assessment program for your connected devices, talk to us for insights on how your assets can best be protected.