Internet of Things or IoT is currently a hot topic now. Why? The answer is quite a fact revealing. According to some experts, the market of the IoT-connected devices will reach to $1.11 trillion of worth by 2026. Thus, there is a continuous rise in IoT app development that has also come with its fair share of security challenges.
Yes, the security of IoT devices is a cause of concern among the IoT developers that can pose a serious issue in the coming years. Previously, only a few companies focused on mitigating the impact of security issues concerning data management for IoT devices. But, not the case anymore with rising cases of online frauds.
As the given technology is new and not mature yet, some challenges in terms of security have crept out that are badly needed to overcome before it is too late.
Now the question is: what are some of the biggest security challenges that are plaguing the efforts of enterprises in offering safe IoT app solutions to their customers?
Before proceeding further, one thing that should be understood by the reader that security challenges that arise from the developers’ side are as follows:
· Lack of proper knowledge about technology among the users
· Inconsistency among the manufacturers in offering sub-standard products
· Poor updates and maintenance features
Now, let’s discuss some of the most threatening security issues that are affecting the working of most of the IoT devices and even proving a nuisance for IoT developers.
A. Constrained Devices do not fit in IoT App Development
Most of the IoT devices face an acute shortage of memory and storage due to the inability to operate on lower powers (especially when running on batteries). It is a known fact that the security approaches having more dependence on encryption performed worst for constrained devices. Why so? The reason is that such devices are unable to transmit data securely and quickly in real-time.
Besides, they are more prone to side-channel attacks (such as power-analysis attacks) that revers the working algorithm of IoT devices.
Though protecting from them is not a mean task, yet IoT systems should focus on multiple layer defenses like the use of firewalls to compensate with the device limitations.
B. Lack of Sufficient Testing of IoT Devices
Presently, there are over 30 billion IoT based connecting devices whole over the globe. It will rise further to 60 billion by 2025. But with an increase of IoT devices, a sense of carelessness is also shown by the IoT app development companies as they don’t conduct enough testing to make their app secure to utilize.
What does it mean? It implies that IoT-based devices, that are known for their highly secure features will become insecure with the passage of time and eventually fall prey to the hackers. It happens because IoT developers have more focus on fast delivery of the devices with security taking the backseat.
To protect the device from getting affected by online hackers, they require regular and proper testing before launching it in public. Even after launching, there is a need for a regular update to keep its security features intact.
If companies fail, then it will only take a single security breach for ruining the image of that company!
C. Proper Management in Updating of IoT Devices
There are several challenges associated with applying security updates in software and firmware running on IoT devices. Some of them include keeping an eye on available updates, their application across distributed environments synchronously, and so on. Besides, it also requires the need to keep plan B in hand (such as rollback strategy) in case there is a failure of the update.
Furthermore, another roadblock in applying updates is that all devices do not support different types of updates (like downtime or over-the-air updates). In such a scenario, it requires a physical assessment of the device or temporarily pulling off the production of the device to apply updates.
Moreover, older devices might not have the availability of the updates as they are getting no support from their manufacturer. Plus, there is no guarantee that accessibility of the updates means that the device is secure, as it might ignore the update.
To prevent it, there is a need to implement backward-compatibility. Why? It is because it will help in keeping vigil over the deployment of different update versions on each device. It will help the developer to identify those devices that have come to the retirement for which updates are no longer available.
D. Building-Up of Secure Communication
After securing the device, the companies face the next security challenge is to ensure that there is a proper communication medium across devices to make them look secure. Many IoT devices lack a proper medium to encrypt the message before transmitting over the network.
It happens because companies do not utilize transport encryption and standards like TLS to make communication more fruitful. Even using a separate network will help in establishing secure communication by isolating devices that is still not followed by most of the companies.
To overcome the shortcoming, the companies should take the help of various facilities such as firewalls, randomly generated passwords (one-time only), and even restricting access to the gateway devices to make communication more secure and easy to operate.
E. Private Concerns & Data Security
In today’s’ world, the major concern regarding IoT app security is protecting data privacy. Big companies store, harness, transmit, and process a large amount of data using a wide number of IoT devices. Inversely, all the given user-data is shared among various companies resulting in a violation of privacy. The given fact then results in a high level of public distrust.
Furthermore, the storage of a large amount of data creates a hurdle in getting compliance with various legal and regulatory issues. Even mobile, web, and cloud services running on IoT app neglect such rules and compel companies to face reprimand from the government.
To cope up with such a challenge, IoT application development companies need to set their policies as per the legal rules and offer the best security to prevent violation of privacy sincerely. Besides, they can also use secure authentications for such devices like offering secure password recovery options and digital signature prevent breaching of privacy and also ensuring there is no modification of the data.
F. Detection & Management of Vulnerabilities
Despite using best efforts to flush out security-related issues in the IoT-based tools and application, the presence of hidden vulnerabilities is inevitable. Why it happens and remains a major challenge for IoT developers? The answer lies in the complexity present in the IoT systems.
Due to high complexity (such as the number of devices connected, the involvement of communication protocols, etc.), identifying those vulnerabilities that stay hidden even from the experts is even more difficult.
What’s more, identifying such issues and managing them again becomes another headache for the developers and companies. Some challenges in managing such issues are: identifying affected devices, how much they have been compromised, and to what extent users have been impacted, and so on.
To detect vulnerabilities, there are various strategies such as monitoring network communication for anomalies, taking the services of ethical hackers, and engaging with penetration testing are the best possible solutions. Furthermore, the management of data can be done by using gateway devices that limit the inflow of data and flooding the system with fake data in case it has been compromised.
G. Proper Utilization of Automation in IoT Devices
IoT devices are invading the everyday lives of the people, and the inclusion of automation has made it more possible to utilize its services more efficiently. But wait? The user-data collected from automation tools such as AI is difficult to manage. Though they offer help to the enterprises in managing network security by detecting traffic patterns of the anomalous data, still their management becomes a cause of concern for developers.
The given automation tools affect the functioning of large scale infrastructure like power and healthcare that might prove risky. Even the detection of a single error is enough to bring down the entire infrastructure. So, it is better to keep a check on the working of automation tools and prevent them from getting misused by the online intruders.
H. Increase Attempt of Financial Crimes in IoT-Driven Devices
With the increase in digitalization in every aspect of the business, usage of electronic payment has gone manifold due to IoT apps. Although it has proved to be a better service for payment by the people, still it is not immune to online theft.
Unethical hackers are taking undue advantage of the absence of a standard law to manage online theft and are committing financial crimes and frauds to still essential data of the people.
Moreover, the implementation of AI and ML will create further challenges in managing such new models. Why so? It is because, with their high efficiency, they also bring with them compliance and operational issues. Unless there is no improvement in the model lifecycle, be ready to face the threat coming in the form of IoT security flaws.
The given article clearly states that IoT is not a full-proof high-tech application. It also has some pros and cons. However, it is the security of the IoT device that matters the most. Neglecting the security aspects in the IoT systems will have severe repercussions on the companies in the form of capital loss, system failures, and even damage to the device.
Thus, taking the cue from the following challenges, IoT developers must create a secure and robust IoT app solution that will meet all the safety measures and will be able to maintain data privacy and integrity at all cost.