Cybersecurity incidents in IoT projects and how to prevent them?

In this article, professor of our Global Master’s in Internet of Things (IoT) Laura Blasco puts the spotlight on IoT unintentional incidents aka cybersecurity incidents. Read further to find out more.

Nowadays, we read about cybersecurity incidents on the news on a regular basis. These incidents in the media usually are related to big companies and their supplies or data and, sometimes as a consequence, you may have been emailed to notify that your email, password etc. has been compromised in a particular site.

When one receives such news from big companies such as water, chemical, oil&gas, Power Industry, one also starts to wonder whether this happens to smaller companies. Are they targets of cybersecurity incidents as well? I am afraid to say that not only are they a target, but also, small companies may not know that they have been affected. And that’s the problem.

Cyber does not always mean firewall or hacking

Cybersecurity is a broad topic. Cyber does not always mean firewall or hacking (although this second is getting prominent) but preventing issues for unintentional incidents, and that affects all companies and all fields but especially, IoT and IIoT.

How can cybersecurity incidents be prevented? In IoT, a good practice is identifying what is connected to the network and why, but we have to keep in mind that when deploying security measures, there can be an inverse correlation between security and system maintainability mainly due to different aspects.

As a consequence, the lack of skill sets and culture change and moreover, the fact that IoT devices were not built with security in mind and in the majority of cases and there is no way to install the security on the device itself. Moreover, there’s not yet any global organization to define IoT device security standards. There’s relatively little regulation applied to IoT devices.

Threats are not only for companies

Having said that, if we keep a closer look at IoT, it is easy to see that it is present not only in companies but in our own homes. Nowadays, all kinds of products with an internet connection can be purchased, everything from vehicles to coffee machines and refrigerators. Expanding networking capabilities to all corners of our lives can make us more efficient, help save time and money, and puts our digital lives at our fingertips whenever we need it. In other words, the IoT adds so much to your home comforts.

Are those affected too? Can data from my devices be compromised?

Benefits aside, connecting to the internet also means connecting to potential cyber threats. The more devices in our lives we connect, the more we expose. So, if we have some knowledge regarding how to protect our network and data, it would be much more difficult for that to occur.

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AUTHOR:

Laura Blasco
Professor of the Global Master’s in Internet of Things (IoT)
IT Audit at CaixaBank

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