How The Internet Of Things Aren't The Best Of Friends With Security And Privacy

The Internet of Things (IoT) is all about making "dumb" devices "smarter," and it's connecting more of them to the internet every day.

The growth of IoT has many benefits, especially when it has the potential to change the way people carry out tasks. Having a smart home, for example. It's not just plain awesome, but it also can reduce energy consumption, lower electric bill and ease many tasks in household routines.

But looking at the bigger picture, IoT also has a much bigger potential, and that is having the ability to transform many other industries, including the world.

Expanding its development, IoT technologies have passed common household items and made itself available on cars. By connecting them to the internet, the cars can link up with smart city infrastructure to create an entirely different ecosystem for drivers. So travelling won't be anymore like going from point A to point B.

IoT has also arrived to healthcare and others. Using IoT, people can see a deeper and fuller understanding concerning their health, in easier ways that previously weren't possible. IoT can also help doctors in curing patients by observing their health remotely, for example.

In short, IoT opens a new world where everything was once hidden. It's a whole new world that benefits everyone that uses it.

However, with all the benefits, as the increase of connected device are coming to the internet, data that include many personal information are scattered. While they should be secured, hackers and cyber criminals are having more entry points to start with.

Below is a list of some of the biggest IoT security and privacy issues that we all need to take care of before having a truly safe connected world:

IoT graphic

Security Issues

  • Public perception: People familiar with technology knew that the internet isn't the safest place to be. For this reason, potential IoT consumers know that they are dealing with the same problem. As a result, potential consumers would hesitate to purchase those connected devices. If IoT is ever to connect the whole world, IoT companies need to ensure people in order for them to give IoT a chance.
  • Vulnerability to Hacking: While public perception needs to be addressed, IoT is still posing vulnerable holes for hackers. If researchers have been able to hack in IoT devices, so should hackers. Any bugs and security holes need to be patched as soon as they are found.
  • True Security: Security is not limited to just the IoT devices. To make everything secured, the network where the IoT devices work should also be secured. Companies need to have security in mind when building software application and network connection that link to those devices.

Privacy Issues

  • Too much data: With more connected devices, the more data will be available. To put it to an example of how the amount is staggering, a Federal Trade Commission report entitled "Internet of Things: Privacy & Security in a Connected World" found that fewer than 10,000 households can generate 150 million discrete data points every day. Each of those data points represents an entry point for hackers to get their hands on potentially sensitive information.
  • User profile being shared: Before using services that involve the internet, users need to agree on their ' Terms of Service. However, according to the FTC report, companies that created the products could use the collected data after consumers willingly accept their ToS. For example, insurance company can gather and share information about a user's driving habit through data taken from IoT-connected cars. This would enable them to calculate insurance rates.
  • Eavesdropping: Companies that created IoT products and hackers could tap into the data that IoT devices receive. One example was when a German researchers intercepted unencrypted data from a smart meter device to know what television show someone was watching at that moment.

While IoT is relatively a new technology, both companies and their consumers should both reassure each other that IoT has the benefit for the greater goods.

Any potential security and privacy risks could lower consumers' desire to purchase IoT connected devices. If IoT really wants to take off, any issues would prevent IoT to ever fulfill its true potential.

These are just a handful of the issues that IoT must solve in order to reach mass adoption.

Further reading: With The Internet Of Things, There Is Practically No Place To Hide