The flood of devices in the Internet of Things offers huge potential, but also comes with a whole range of problems and hurdles that still have to be overcome. Concepts are still missing in many places. However, the manufacturers recognize that the solution could lie in standards.
With the Internet of Things, countless new intelligent and networked devices will come that will accompany us in everyday life. The enormous potential is most emphasized, which is undoubtedly attractive for developers and the IT sector. But the Internet of Things also poses huge challenges, the solution of which is still a long way off.
One example is security. The amount of data that is collected and stored on the devices themselves or in the cloud increases with the number of networked everyday devices. The data is not only attractive for hackers, but the potential for security gaps also grows exponentially with every device. And the damage that can be done in a hacker attack is much greater. Unthinkable what damage can be done to hacked locking systems, cars or automatic industrial plants …
Proofpoint, a US specialist for secure enterprise data, made public in January that cyber attacks on the Internet of Things are already taking place. Email spam is sent with malware. Currently still relatively harmless home devices such as televisions or refrigerators, but the Internet of Things is already in the sights of hackers.
Manage Devices As A Full-Time Job
- Managing all smart devices will take a lot of time. Security gaps often have to be closed with patches or firmware updates. And even now, many users forget to keep the manageable range of devices from PC and smartphone up to date. It gets worse with even more devices: The magazine “Wired” recently painted a bleak picture of security in the IoT. The big problem is that it is not possible to close gaps in the software by patch or hardware by upgrade as quickly as before. “Even if there is a patch, it is rarely used,” wrote security expert Bruce Schneier from Co3-Systems.
- Companies are partly already in Bring your own device (BYOD) -Trend in which employees use their personal smartphones and tablets use in the enterprise, overwhelmed in terms of safety. The countermeasure is often simply to abolish the “BYOD vulnerability” so as not to endanger security.
- In addition to security, the huge amount of data that companies are facing due to a large number of devices is a major challenge. Private data of users must be secured. Servers have to deal with significantly higher data volumes. Today, only parts of the server capacities are often used, but many companies will have to upgrade enormously for the step into the Internet of Things.
IoT Needs Standards
- Chaos threatens not only in the management of smart devices but also in the compatibility of the devices with each other. Every manufacturer is currently trying to establish its own platform. Anyone who has ever tried various wearables or fitness trackers knows the problem. If you switch to an app or a fitness bracelet from another manufacturer, you usually start with the data again from scratch. Data cannot be transferred from the old device to the new one. Everyone has their own app, their own way of tracking data and storing it in a portal. Only rarely, for example with manufacturers who rely on common apps like Runtastic.com, do they have similarities.
- After all, there are efforts to end the chaos and thus make gadgets and electrical devices more compatible and thus more attractive to customers. Intel, Samsung and four other companies have joined together to form the “Open Interconnect Consortium”. Its goal is to develop standards for the Internet of Things. A framework is intended to enable wireless networking and control of devices regardless of manufacturer and operating system. Wireless connections should run securely and stably, the standard itself as an open-source implementation should be readily available to everyone.
- The company consortium also wants to certify which devices meet the standards. Devices in the smart home sector are the beginning. However, other companies will be recruited later. Overall, the approach sounds promising, but of course, there are other consortia such as the Allen Alliance, which includes Microsoft, LG, and Qualcomm. So it is also important to wait and see what will ultimately prevail.
This Is How Security Works In The Internet of Things
IoT as a botnet
Almost a third of those surveyed put on record that they have security concerns about the Internet of Things. Above all, they fear hacker or DDoS attacks or industrial espionage. A fear that is not entirely unfounded, as demonstrated by the Experts, which included around 500,000 compromised IoT devices.
Is the danger really that big? Where are the security risks? What distinguishes IoT networking from a classic IT network? Head of IoT at Cisco, helped us answer these and other security questions.
What makes IoT vulnerabilities so dangerous?
In contrast to an attack on a classic IT network, the effects of the Internet of Things can be much more dramatic. A successful attacker can cripple the entire production. In the worst case, even death threatens if a robot gets out of control or a connected car is hacked.
Why is the risk in the IoT higher than with an IT network?
An IoT network is significantly more complex than an IT network. If you look at the production pyramid, networking ranges from MES to controllers such as PLC to individual sensors and actuators. In addition, a large number of actors often have access to the IoT environments. This can range from your own employees to external partners (maintenance, suppliers, etc.) to the machines themselves that communicate with each other or with the cloud.
The Internet of Things has huge potential, but great challenges and many question marks. The biggest problem is security. Cross-vendor standards could be a big step towards compatibility and more security.