Why IoT Security Is So Critical

25 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Consumers overconfident in IoT security.

Twenty years ago, if you told me my phone could be used to steal the password to my email account or to take a copy of my fingerprint data, I would’ve laughed at you and said you watch too much James Bond. Indian technology firm Cube26 plans to hire about 100 people over the next two quarters as it ramps up its team to focus on the multi-billion dollar global Internet of Things (IoT) market.Last week, the Abu Dhabi Court of Cassation gave its final verdict in the sad death of a four-year-old Indian school girl after she was forgotten on the bus. But today, if you tell me that hackers with malicious intents can use my toaster to break into my Facebook account, I will panic and quickly pull the plug from the evil appliance.

There will be 25-50 billion connected devices by 2020, which will generate as much as 4-11 trillion dollars a year in economic value and will transform every aspect of our lives. Flipkart and The Tiger Global-backed firm currently has a team of 65 people and works with handset vendors like Micromax, Panasonic, Intex and Karbonn to customise solutions. “We currently have a team of 65 people in Delhi and are now planning to expand across development, product management, design and business development,” Cube26 co-founder and CEO Saurav Kumar told PTI. Human negligence remains the primary reason behind such tragedies, and in today’s technology-driven age, there ought to be checks and balances to avoid such recurrences. The company will hire 100 more people in the next one or two quarters and open an office in Bangalore, focussed on data science and analytics, he added. “The funds will be used for R&D, data science and analytics as far as the technology bit goes. Forecasts indicate that by 2020 there could be as many as 50bn connected devices – assuming half of these connected devices are phones and tablets, we can expect more than 25bn new connected IoT nodes, all utilising wireless connectivity, data management & aggregation and protected through security IP & SW solutions.

The in-vehicle solution offers a number of services, including in-vehicle video surveillance, accurate passenger tracking, emergency services communication, real-time vehicle health data analysis and even allows for a host of multi-media services for passenger’s entertainment, the firm said in a statement. Finance, Agriculture, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Energy, Resources are a few of the industries already seeing the transformational effect of IoT, and many more will be impacted as it reaches maturity. IoT is a network of inter-connected devices like smartphones, tablets, connected vehicles and appliances and harnesses relevant information from massive amounts of data collected from these devices. “The smart bulb will be loaded with intuitive, experiential features for the Indian consumer market and the embedded software will be its key differentiator,” he said without divulging further details.

Many, many corporations and governmental entities are looking closely at the IoT, a few buying things, a few “redesigning for the coming wave” and other initiatives. Developed by the Chinese firm for maily connecting public transport vehicles and school buses, road transport authorities can now easily monitor, track and communicate with their fleet of vehicles, ensuring increased safety for residents.

More connected devices mean more attack vectors and more possibilities for hackers to target us; unless we move fast to address this rising security concern, we’ll soon be facing an inevitable disaster. The solution provides authorities real-time data about the health of their vehicles on the road, offering data such as fuel consumption, tire pressure and engine performance, which can also minimise the risk of an engineering or mechanical failure. “The IoT solution enables public transport buses and other transportation vehicles to exist in a seamless wireless mobile environment, so that users are able to utilise the connected benefits, ensuring greater levels of control and safety on the road,” said Nazir. Some of the more frightening vulnerabilities found on IoT devices have brought IoT security further up the stack of issues that need to be addressed quickly. We are at the precipice of the IoT wave breaking point, and unless we paddle hard and stand up soon, we will miss out on an economic opportunity for Australia through the development of a new key industry. In another development, it was proven that Internet-connected cars can be compromised, as well, and hackers can carry out any number of malicious activities, including taking control of the entertainment system, unlocking the doors or even shutting down the car in motion.

Wearables also can become a source of threat to your privacy, as hackers can use the motion sensors embedded in smartwatches to steal information you’re typing, or they can gather health data from smartwatch apps or health tracker devices you might be using. Australia did not take part in the PC wave during the 1980s and 90s and we were too busy digging golden dirt out of the ground during the mobile wave that followed. What most manufacturers need is an onramp to the IoT: a cloud-based IoT platform that handles all the end-to-end steps and considerations required to connect products to the cloud (including the AWS cloud) and the IoT. “[Seven] years later, this warning remains valid, though it now seems certain that the IoT will be disruptive far sooner than 2025 – if it is not so already”. LG said connecting the sensor to an air conditioning unit or other appliance will allow users to control the devices remotely through its smartphone app. “There are rules in place that the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] can use against planes that are insecure, but have yet been applied to drones”, he said. “This disconnect creates gaps that attackers could exploit”. That billion-dollar group comes from seven industries: six from banking and financial services; five from automotive; four from travel, hospitality, and transportation; four from high tech; three from insurance; two telecommunications firms; one retailer; and one from healthcare and life sciences.

Several measures are already being taken to gap holes and prevent security breaches at the device level, and efforts are being led to tackle major disasters before they come to pass. With over 20 years of technology development experience in Israel and the US, the most important thing I have learnt is that we must concentrate on areas with the highest growth potential, which is currently IoT. As a result of this growth, the rapid and successive adoption of newly introduced technologies in the consumer and commercial realms will continue to grow.

After the Jeep Cherokee hack, automaker Fiat scrambled to have the problem fixed and quickly issued a safety recall for 1.4 million U.S. cars and trucks to install a security update patch. Taking a quick look at Israel innovation timeline, one could easily identify distinct eras and evolution of expertise and achievements: While the 50-60’s were all about agriculture, the 70-80’s focused on semiconductor and communication technologies and the 90s took a turn towards internet and security solutions. In March 2015, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) established the Office of Technology Research and Investigation (OTRI) as the successor to the Mobile Technology Unit (MTU).

For example, most (64%) consumers say they don’t even know much about smart home technology, according to a recent Harris Poll survey of 2,000 consumers. “To see if the security problems exist across multiple devices, that there’s no particular manufacturer who’s bad”. SE is a tamper-resistant component that gets embedded into devices to enable advanced digital security and life-cycle management via encryption of and access-control limitation to sensitive data. Recent example would be Telstra’s new board member, Trae Vassalo (A US-based technology executive investor and adviser with vast experience in IoT ventures).

The alliance claims there is already an ecosystem of 50 billion IoT devices ready to communicate with each other, but only if all companies are on the same page. Microsoft also is entering the fray, and has promised to add BitLocker encryption and Secure Boot technology to the Windows 10 IoT, the software giant’s operating system for IoT devices and platforms such as the Raspberry Pi. BitLocker is an encryption technology that can code entire disk volumes, and it has been featured in Windows operating systems since the Vista edition.

CSIRO, CommBank and KPMG have joined forces to propel IoT innovation by supporting Australia’s main IoT conference, Everything IoT 2015, with the purpose to unlock Australia’s IoT potential. Topics include the Quantified Enterprise, Humanising Technology, Privacy by Design, the Internet of Touch, and more, brought to you by visionary speakers exploring the future of IoT, as well as brands and business leaders with practical case studies of how to apply IoT solutions in different business area’s today. Secure Boot is a security standard developed by members of the PC industry to help make sure that your PC boots using only software that is trusted by the PC manufacturer.

Eitan Beinstock is an entrepreneur, an active voice in the innovation ecosystem and the organiser of Everything IoT conference to be held next week as part as StartupWeek Sydney. IoTSF hopes to raise awareness through cross-company collaboration and encourage manufacturers to consider security of connected devices at the hardware level. “The opportunity for IoT is staggering,” said John Moor, a spokesperson for IoTSF. “However, there are ever-real security challenges that accompany those opportunities.” Moor stressed the importance to address security from the start. “By creating a dedicated focus on security,” he promised, “our intention is simple — drive excellence in IoT security. IoTSF aims to be the home for providers, adopters and beneficiaries of IoT products and services.” Other companies are working on setting up platforms that will enable large networks of IoT devices to identify and authenticate each other in order to provide higher security and prevent data breaches. The effort is being led by experts at the University of South Hampton, who believe smartphones can help overcome IoT devices’ limits in user interfaces and complexities in networking. While the effort to tackle security issues regarding IoT devices is laudable, it isn’t enough to ensure that we can leverage the full power of this new technology in a secure environment.

In contrast to human-controlled devices, they go through a one-time authentication process, which can make them perfect sources of infiltration into company networks. Also of concern are huge repositories where IoT data is being stored, which can become attractive targets for corporate hackers and industrial spies who rely on big data to make profits. In the wake of massive data breaches and data theft cases we’ve seen in recent years, more effort needs to be made to secure IoT-related data to ensure the privacy of consumers and the functionality of businesses and corporations.

Will we be able to harness this most-hyped, emerging technology that will undoubtedly revolutionize the world, or will we end up opening a Pandora’s Box that will spiral the world into a new age of mayhem and chaos?

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