How to Overcome the Major Security Challenges of IoT?

Almost 127 devices connect to the internet every second linking users to the digital world more than ever. But are they all set to face the major IoT security challenges?

Updated 12 February 2024

Ashish Chauhan
Ashish Chauhan

Global Delivery Head at Appventurez

Imagine yourself living in a smart city; a place filled with several advanced technologies. Now, look around yourself. What do you find?

Almost all home appliances are connected to mobile apps on smartphones. People move up to the floors of their offices in smart elevators and escalators. Your smartwatches and health bands detect your blood pressure and oxygen levels. Yes, all these and many more unbelievable things are happening right now. But how?

Well, the key player behind this is IoT – ‘The Internet of Things’.

In the last few years, IoT has gained immense popularity and completely revolutionized the lives of people. According to a study by Markets and Markets, the global IoT market revenue is estimated to touch the $650.5 billion mark by 2026 at a whopping CAGR value of 16.7%. 

But every path has its puddle. Along with the great benefits, there are certain challenges of IoT too, making businesses look after this technology from a security perspective. This blog will encircle the most common security challenges of IoT and how you can take care of them.

The World of IoT: From Emergence to the Future

People believe that IoT is a newfangled technology. Well, practically, it is. However, the term “Internet of Things” was discovered way back in 1999, when Kevin Ashton, the then MIT’s executive director of the Auto-ID Laboratory coined the phrase for the first time. He was working on a presentation for P&G’s new sensor project regarding RFID supply chains and included the then buzzword “internet” to grab the executives’ attention when this phrase stuck.

More than two decades have passed since Ashton discovered this term, and the market of IoT is continuously growing since then. According to the 2022 report by IoT Analytics, it is projected that the total number of devices connected to the internet will be over 27 billion by 2025. With users shifting to 4G, even 5G networks, the market of IoT connections observed a significant increase in their growth by 24%.

But the real question is — along with the development in the Internet of Things domain, is the world also ready to face the IoT security challenges? And even if yes is the answer, how?

Security Challenges of IoT: A Blindspot in the Growth of the Internet of Things

Have you ever thought about why IoT solutions grabbed so much attention all these years? Well, IoT bridges the gap between the physical and digital worlds, coherently connecting people with their everyday products and complex systems.

However, this ‘easy and seamless’ connection with IoT devices over the internet has also opened several doors for cybercriminals and unethical hackers to get into users’ private data. Several Internet of Things security vulnerabilities and challenges have restricted many consumers from using IoT devices. The following section will cover the major challenges of IoT and issues and the ways you can resolve them.

major security challanges of iot

Malware and Ransomware in IoT

With the growth in the number of IoT devices, the extent of malware and ransomware used to exploit them has also significantly increased. A report by Zscaler observed a 700% increase in IoT-specific malware in smart devices compared to the pre-pandemic study.

Of all the originated attacks, most of them were from the US, China, and India. Moreover, according to the report, the most vulnerable categories of IoT devices were Set-top boxes (STBs), smart TVs, and smartwatches.

The primary objective of ransomware attacks is to disable or limit a device’s functionality and lock the user out of it. In addition, the attacker can also steal the data at the same time. And that’s not it. The modern hybridization of both ransomware and malware can rocket IoT security threats by merging different types of cyberattacks.

For instance, an IP camera capable of capturing sensitive private information from various locations and angles could be locked, and its video footage could be transferred to an infected web address. The attacker can later ask for a ransom to return the data and unlock the device.

Solution

In order to secure your smart devices from such privacy challenges of IoT, it’s better to:

  • Keep changing the default settings and passwords of your accessible platforms and devices.
  • Moreover, if your IoT device is not in use, disconnect it from the network.
  • You can also use network segmentation and switch to strong Wi-Fi encryption options for better protection

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Insufficient Testing and Updating of Devices

The development of IoT devices is in top gear, and the aforementioned figures suggest the same. One of the top reasons for this growth is the fierce market competition that has made tech companies release smart products and services as quickly as possible.

However, rush often leads to negligence. In simple words, several tech companies are in such a hurry to stay ahead of the competition that they compromise the device’s performance against IoT security problems. Other than this, many IoT devices don’t get enough software updates regarding security enhancement. Since most customers are unaware of this fact become an easy target for hackers and cybercriminals.

Even though many companies offer their customers tech support post-sale of the devices, it does not last for a lifetime. Consequently, it leaves loyal customers with nothing but exposure to potential IoT security threats.

Solution

In order to protect users against such attacks,

  • Proper testing of the IoT devices before launch is essential. Moreover, they must be updated regularly, especially from a security perspective.
  • In-built security testing features can be included so that users get an idea if the device faces any kind of IoT challenges and issues.

IoT Botnets Targeting Crypto

The increasing value of cryptocurrency is becoming pretty enticing for cybercriminals. That’s why the security vulnerabilities in the blockchain are increasing at a good pace.

Although it’s not the blockchain that’s prone to these vulnerabilities, rather it’s the loopholes in the blockchain applications that have paved the way for hackers and cyber attackers.

You might be already aware of social engineering — one of the manipulation techniques that lead to major IoT security threats in cyberspace. Attackers use this practice to figure out the usernames and passwords along with the private keys of users linked to a blockchain application.

From IoT botnet mining to blockchain breaches, all these data manipulation practices can disrupt the entire structure of the crypto market.

Solution

To ensure that the applications and platforms based on blockchain technology are ready to face the main challenges of IoT, you must constantly monitor and regulate their structures and update them accordingly.

IoT Security Problems Related to Device Update Management

Incorrect firmware updates can also impact the security of IoT applications and devices. Also, sometimes, these updates consist of unencrypted files which provide hackers with a chance to steal the private data of users.

Solution

  • The updates must be evaluated properly to check for any insecure files or bugs in the software.
  • Integration of efficient IoT device management can also help monitor and configure the connected devices.

Vulnerable APIs and Open-source Code

One of the most common entry points for attackers to intrude on an IoT system or software is APIs. Cybercriminal activities such as SQL injections, DDoS attacks, network breaching, etc. can be easily launched through APIs vulnerability.

Besides this, several times firmware developed for IoT applications and devices consists of open-source code, which is easily prone to vulnerabilities and bugs. Since these technological challenges of IoT are complex, experts are needed to fix them.

Solution

  • Install open-source security tools and software to identify vulnerabilities and secure open-source code.
  • Enable authentication and authorization for public users and optimize the firewall for better security.

Lack of Standardization

With a plethora of devices, platforms, and protocols, all different from each other, it becomes an arduous task to ensure interoperability among them. Consequently, this lack of compatibility and standardization in IoT devices might lead to vulnerabilities for cyberattacks.

Solution

  • Industry-wide standards for IoT devices and platforms must be developed and implemented to ensure compatibility and consistency.
  • Organizations must check whether an IoT device or platform is certified, meet security standards, and adheres to international compliances.

Intrusion Ignorance

One of the major challenges in IoT security is that even when the devices are compromised, users can’t observe the alterations in them. The additional bandwidth or power usage by these devices does not come into the picture. In fact, most of the devices even lack a sign-in alert functionality that notifies users when a forced attempt to log in is made.

If unfortunately, the intruders make it possible to enter the systems, they can easily overwrite the data or disable the functionalities. Consequently, the users rarely discover that they are hacked or the device is compromised.

Solution

  • Regularly reviewing the security aspects of IoT devices and platforms
  • Keeping the software up to date
  • Integrating log-in alert functionality in the devices
  • Enabling two-factor authentication and authorization for enhanced security

IoT Security Best Practices: Taking Control in Your Hand

There is no one comprehensive approach to understanding and addressing the security challenges of IoT. However, a few tactics can be implemented to manage the overall security of IoT structures. One of the best practices is to enhance the security of the three primary components of IoT devices and systems, which are:

  • Devices: Offering updates and patches, using strong boot-level passwords, testing thoroughly, and implementing device data protection measures
  • Network: Implementing multi-factor authentication, minimizing device bandwidths, and ensuring network security protocols
  • Data: Collecting only essential information, protecting sensitive data with passwords, and restricting the device’s unnecessary communication

Securing Smart IoT Devices

how to secure smart iot devices

Make your product tamper-proof

When your IoT device is stolen by attackers, they can steal and access private data. In order to prevent them from tampering with your data, you must use strong passwords or integrate smart solutions that disable your device when stolen.

Update your device regularly

Integrate the feature that automatically upgrades users’ devices with mandatory security updates. Moreover, notify them regarding the time till you will provide tech support to them and the guidelines to be followed after that period.

Test the devices thoroughly

Use penetration testing to identify vulnerabilities in the software of IoT devices and mitigate the attacks as much as possible.

How Can Appventurez Help You Overcome the Major Security Challenges of IoT?

Data security has always been one of the top priorities for all users. And when you know that all your devices are somehow connected over the same network, the concern further increases.

That’s why it’s crucial to start thinking about the security challenges of IoT from the beginning of your IoT project so that it does not hamper the customer experience later. However, implementing advanced IoT security solutions requires a professional IoT app development company Having expertise in IoT quality assurance and penetration testing.

At Appventurez, you will get a perfect combination of advanced IoT solutions and an expert team of developers with years of experience in IoT development. From gathering insights for your idea to providing top-notch security solutions, we will get your back for your entire IoT project.

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FAQs

Q. What are the 3 major factors affecting IoT security?

The security challenges of IoT have been increasing rapidly and there is no one factor responsible for it. However, several experts believe that outdated software in IoT devices is one of the reasons IoT security is compromised. Besides this, application vulnerabilities are another factor affecting it. Moreover, a lack of encryption and insecure interfaces can also impact the security of IoT systems adversely.

Q. What is IoT security? Describe IoT security challenges.

IoT security refers to the set of approaches, tools, and techniques used to protect devices and systems from major issues and challenges of IoT. Any flaw in the IoT devices can create a vulnerability for attackers to intrude into the system and hack users’ sensitive data. All these IoT issues and challenges emerging from the loopholes in the software and structure of apps and devices lead to security challenges of IoT.

Q. How does cost impact the process of addressing IoT security challenges for startups?

Security and privacy issues are one of the major challenges of IoT and resolving them can increase expenses. Since creating secure and privacy-compliant IoT solutions call for a significant investment of resources, many small-scale companies and startups lag behind in the race.

Q. What are the different types of IoT security?

There are majorly three types of IoT security. One is related to the network which includes protection from unauthorized access. The second type is embedded security which deals with the protection of IoT devices through nano agents. The last one is firmware protection which calls for a complete assessment of the IoT’s firmware.

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    Ashish Chauhan
    Ashish Chauhan

    Global Delivery Head at Appventurez

    Ashish governs the process of software delivery operations. He ensures the end product attains the highest remarks in qualitative analysis and is streamlined to the clientele’s objectives. He has over a decade of experience as an iOS developer and teams mentorship.