Big Ideas in IoT Security, Mobile and Cellular

By Vincent Korstanje

The Internet of Things will see significant progress in 2022, but if the industry is not careful, the safety and security of businesses and customers could be compromised.

As we dive into 2022, the Internet of Things (IoT) industry can confidently predict that there will be no slowdown in technical advancement, innovation or collaboration. There will be significant progress made for the IoT, but at the same time, it may also prove costly for the security and safety of businesses and customers if the industry is not careful. Here are some of the top IoT security trends and big ideas for the year.

3G Sunset May Light Up New Opportunities
By the end of 2022, many of the largest wireless carriers will have already shut down their 3G networks or will have started the process of doing so. This is known as the 3G sunset or retirement, which basically means 3G devices based on this network technology will no longer be connected.

With many countries entering their 3G sunsetting, initiatives to boost mobile connectivity and future-proof mobile networks with low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) and 5G technologies are likely to benefit the industry. This could be a game changer, making it easier for new equipment manufacturers to enter the market. It will also be an opportunity for new network suppliers, systems integrators and mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) to support customers and businesses looking to access the benefits of 5G.

Change in Perception of Security
Secure-by-design approaches enabled many innovations during the pandemic and resulted in tremendous strides for product development and service implementation, bringing updatability to the forefront. Luckily, awareness regarding cybersecurity is rising. The media is publishing cyber-crime stories on an almost daily basis, and manufacturers and service providers face considerable pressure from customers, governments and regulators if they are found neglecting their security responsibilities.

Networks Race to Be Guardians of Trust
Major network operators have recognized that leading the charge on secure-by-design solutions can be a huge differentiator, particularly keeping the aforementioned growth of the industry in mind. In 2021, we already saw further support from  AT&T, KORE, Truphone and  Soracom, along with  Google, Infineon, SIMCom, Qualcomm, Quectel, Sequans and other businesses that publicly show support for eSIM and the standards-based approach to iSIM. Watch this space closely as new leaders emerge.

Standards Become Standard
A majority of previous digital-transformation efforts have been set in an era of "pave the road while we drive it" in terms of security, i.e., to design and implement best practices in anticipation of standards. Now, the  GSM Association (GSMA)'s collaborative efforts have built a key step toward secure-by-design, remotely provisioned and updatable devices.

The  recently announced EAL5+ certification is another example of how enhanced cellular-level security is now readily available to devices that engage with sensitive data. This year may see the first full GSMA standard-compliant iSIM solution in the market, enabling turnkey solutions for a wider set of industries. Chip memory and computation capabilities will not be a limitation to those wanting to adopt standards-based iSIM.

Post-Quantum Crypto on the Horizon
Quantum computing operations are far faster than conventional capabilities and offer new possibilities. Equally, with such tremendously fast computational power, they can threaten even the best-known security algorithms. With service lifespans of IoT technologies already extending to 15 to 20 years, these advanced lifespans may well be taken as a key consideration in the next generation of IoT deployment.

Chip manufacturers are already carving a path to enabling post-quantum security without taking up additional memory or increasing size. With that in mind, we will continue to see the perseverance for progress as the collective industry collaborates to create lasting, sustainable and positive impact in the IoT.

Vincent Korstanje is the CEO of  Kigen. Vincent's mission is to make eSIM and iSIM the foundation of all connected devices, which led him to found Kigen in 2016. Kigen formed into a separate company in October 2020 to drive this vision to secure trillions of connected devices. Vincent worked for Arm for 22 years, during which he helped build the U.K.'s leading technology company. Before that, he worked at TNO in compiler and security technology.