securing the internet of thingsThe “Internet of things,” or IoT for short, is quickly becoming a commonly used phrase by folks in the technology world. It’s a buzzword that relates to everyday objects that we wouldn’t normally expect to be connected to the Internet becoming well…connected to the Internet.

There are so many cool, somewhat bizarre, but also, very intriguing objects out there that have fallen under this general umbrella called the Internet of Things that have become connected.

Now, cars, thermostats, wristbands, watches and refrigerators are all online – and more and more devices are finding ways to utilize the Internet.

The Internet of Things is great. It’s trendy, it’s a phenomenon, and in many cases, the Internet of Things makes our lives easier, helping us accomplish tasks quickly and efficiently using “things” that can receive data and process commands from a remote location. Who hasn’t wanted a refrigerator that tells you you’re running low on ice cream? Did you even know a refrigerator could do that? Well, now you do, and you want one, now.

Just like computers, things connected to the Internet need to be secure. As the Internet of things continues to evolve, Internet of things security is something we have to become more and more aware of.  We’ve seen machines attack before in the movies, after all.

The biggest problem securing the Internet of things is that the Internet of things wasn’t designed with security in mind from the outset. Automated technology comes at a cost, and with convenience comes vulnerability. Recently, Hewlett-Packard (HP) released its 2014 “Internet of Things Report” which sheds valuable insight into just how vulnerable these devices could be, and what kinds of Internet of Things security concerns consumers and businesses alike share in regards to these “things” connected to the internet.

Internet of Things Security Issues between Devices

A majority of IoT innovations link up to a central location such as a smartphone. We have tons of valuable information on our smartphones; personal passwords, banking information, music libraries, phone numbers and yes, even text conversations that contain personal or sensitive data. 

When devices become connected, security issues are multiplied. In fact, 90 percent of IoT devices have collected at least one piece of personal information via the device, cloud or a mobile app.

Security facts about the IoT

The HP Report reveals several disturbing Internet of things security facts that can make you think twice about going after that connected device:

  • Six out of 10 devices that provide user interfaces were vulnerable to a range of issues, such as weak credentials
  • 80 percent of devices failed to require passwords of a sufficient length or complexity
  • Even worse, 70% of devices use an unencrypted network service.

By 2020, the Internet of Things is expected to expand to include 26 billion different devices. While this technology is still relatively new, and there are plenty of issues to be addressed when it comes to securing the Internet of Things, there is time for manufacturers of these devices to act and correct these security issues before the Internet becomes just another thing and there isn’t such a thing as an internet-less thing.

Conduct Thorough Testing of Devices

Manufacturers of products that fall under the Internet of things need to review authentication and authorization parameters and review interactions of their devices with their cloud and mobile app counterparts. It’s better for manufactures to find vulnerabilities on their own rather than having someone else find them for you, and it’s even worse if those vulnerabilities become widespread and are acted upon.

Ensure all Devices Meet Security Standards

The Internet is highly secure and highly regulated. Devices that connect to the Internet should be handled in the same way. The most basic security procedures can identify vulnerabilities that are easy to re-mediate without affecting users.

Make Security a Consideration throughout Product Lifecycle

The next best thing can be the worst thing if it has a huge security gap included in its infrastructure. Manufacturers should look at security early in the development cycle. During these product’s lifecycles, they should continually receive security updates and patches to avoid issues.

Don’t be scared of the Internet of Things

Go ahead; buy that space-age refrigerator for the break room. Just keep in mind how it works, and ensure it is connected to a secure network requiring 2-factor authentication. Remember, devices should only collect data that is necessary to perform their intended function.

The Internet of Things is the next great…thing, and ThrottleNet can help protect it on your network. Contact us today to do a thorough evaluation of your network and rest assured knowing your data is backed 24/7 by a robust network infrastructure with a support team on call when you need it. Contact ThrottleNet today to learn more!