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Securing the Insecure: Security Challenges Posed by the Internet of Things

The IoT brings several security challenges with far-reaching consequences, which differ from those present in more conventional technology infrastructures.
By GH Rao
May 03, 2018

Many organizations are experimenting with Internet of Things (IoT) deployments, ranging from automation systems and sensor networks to critical connected health-care solutions, connected vehicles and industrial robotics. Such deployment scenarios can automate device management, improve efficiencies and reduce operational costs, while improving the customer experience. Opportunities exist in every business sector, and early adopters are racing to secure a first-move advantage.

However, the IoT brings several security challenges with far-reaching consequences. These challenges differ from those present in more conventional technology infrastructures. Unlike traditional cyber-security, which often results in data compromise, security challenges resulting from real-time IoT networks can have serious implications on human security and safety.

IoT System Security Challenges
IoT security challenges are categorized into a three-tier architecture:

Security of Devices: It's vital that each device only does what it's intended to do, eliminating the opportunity for infiltration and reprogramming. Over-the-air update capabilities for software and firmware updates are essential for speed and efficiency, but can compromise the security of the system.

Security of Communications: IoT communications occur over public, private, industrial and IT networks, and because several IoT devices have sensors with low computational power, providing data and network-based encryption falls on gateways. This results in the need to secure vast amounts of structured and unstructured data, while supporting various types of connections and device architectures.

Security of Cloud/Data Center: IoT devices connect to the cloud remotely, and data from these devices is stored in the cloud. Securing these connections is critical, but requires one to secure every data packet individually—rather than the entire data store—because there are innumerable sources with varying levels of security.

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