The internet of things has been a revolutionary force in many people’s lives. Consumers and businesses are taking advantage of smart devices to make interacting with products easier. Of course, IoT devices are not perfect and there are some reported security issues. Below is some helpful information on the state of IoT in 2020.
Types of IoT
Many people immediately jump to consumer IoT devices. However, there are products for commercial industrial, infrastructural and military use. They can range from pacemakers to smart network devices to smart agriculture. In other words, the benefits and risks of IoT are far-reaching. A security flaw could have greater negative impacts than letting a hacker look at your home camera.
That being said, IoT technology also has the opportunity to help society in major ways. Smart agriculture can help us to ensure that everyone in the world is fed. Smart health devices can help doctors better monitor their patients and manage their health.
The internet of things is growing rapidly. This is due to a combination of increasing awareness and adoption as well as a larger number of applications. As both new products and new consumers enter the market, the growth is exponential.
In 2018, there were seven billion devices. By the end of 1029, that had nearly quadrupled to 26.6 billion. Experts believe an additional 31 billion will be connected in 2020. By 2025, the numbers could exceed 75 billion.
In other words, this year there could be 4 devices installed per person in the world. To be clear, that is new installations. The total number of devices will be nearly 60 billion.
Revenue is also way up. Experts estimate that the total IoT spending in 2020 will be nearly $1.3 trillion. This is close to double what it was in 2016.
Despite the huge number of IoT applications, many devices are woefully behind on security. These could seriously harm businesses’ and individuals’’ network security efforts. These are some of the most common flaws:
· Weak, easily-guessed or hardcoded administrator passwords: These are often set by the developers and left in place.
· Unnecessary network services: Your IoT device may be making unknown connections that could be exploited by hackers and identity thieves.
· Poor data security: Your devices may be storing your personal information as plain data. This can be accessed and stolen relatively easily.
· Bad default settings: Many security issues can be overcome with configuration. However, most devices are shipped with less-than-ideal configurations.
· Little or no physical hardening: While remote threats may be more common, physical attempts to access data also happen. With USB ports and other plug-in options easily accessible, many devices are easy to access.
· Poor understanding of predecessor’s security: Many people buy smart devices for security applications such as padlocks and door locks. These are often designed by consumer goods creators. They may lack the understanding of security applied by normal lock designers.
Fortunately, many of these problems are not permanent or innate. As an IoT user, you can protect yourself by making sure to configure your devices carefully. Don’t connect them to anything unnecessary and change all the preset passwords.
Additionally, make sure to research the security issues associated with a device before buying it. Many of the problems are discovered in advance.
As a designer, make sure to hire appropriate team members to help with planning both digital and physical security. Carefully avoid unnecessary network services and clean up code before it is sent to production. Messy practices such as leaving in backdoor login credentials can cause a lot of problems down the road.
These concerns are doubly important in commercial, industrial and government applications. While consumer networks should also be secure, the risk is often lower.
The internet of things is here to stay, and the field offers a lot of promise. However, that doesn’t mean that the associated risks need to stay. There is a lot of improvement to be achieved.