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Let's Talk IoT Security

Implementing IoT device security can be a challenge. Let us help you by sharing our proven framework for integrating a proactive security approach into your design. Click the button below to schedule a one-on-one web conference to discuss your security needs.

Introduction

The Internet of Things (IoT) is truly transformative, and will have a positive impact on society in innumerable ways.

  • IoT is improving access to quality medical care, and reducing health care costs, through the use of smart devices that monitor patients and remotely administer procedures and medicine.
  • IoT ecosystems and devices are a critical component of smart homes and cities, facilitating lower energy consumption and increased levels of security.
  • In the automobile industry, IoT enables driverless vehicles that will reduce fuel consumption and improve overall transportation safety.
  • IoT ecosystems are helping farmers keep production at pace with the needs of a growing population. Through IoT ecosystems, farmers have access to data-driven agriculture that empowers them to know exactly when, where, and how to plant their crops and maximize yield, ultimately lowering expenses and environmental impact.

Gartner’s 2020 CIO Survey confirmed that IoT is a game-changing technology. According to their Priority Matrix, IoT integration is expected to reach maturity within two years, highlighting IoT’s journey from an emerging to adolescent technology from a maturity model perspective. Other IoT capabilities will follow, including:

  • Digital Twin: Virtual representation of an entity such as an asset, person, or process developed to support business objectives.
  • Edge Analytics: Analytics are executed in distributed devices, servers, or gateways located away from corporate data centers or cloud servers close to where data from “things” is being generated.
  • Event Stream Processing: Computing that is performed on event objects for the purpose of stream data integrations or stream analytics.
  • IoT Edge Architecture: Represents hardware, software, and communications elements that optimize capabilities such as computation, storage, networking, and analytics to be deployed close to where IoT data is produced or consumed.
Priority Matrix for the Internet of Things, 2020

Click on the image to enlarge

It’s All About the Data

The significant impact of IoT devices and ecosystems is rooted in data. Referred to as the IoT Axiom, the value derived from IoT ecosystems comes from secure and real-time access to data and the actions taken by interpreting the data.

As a result, it is crucial to ensure the authenticity, integrity, and validity of data generated from IoT devices, especially in mission critical and life-altering applications in industries such as medical, industrial, aviation, and military.

Threats to IoT Devices

However, with these tremendous benefits come significant risks. There are four primary direct threat categories that can wreak havoc with IoT ecosystems.

Exfiltrate Data

Unsecured IoT devices are vulnerable to data exfiltration. This happens when an unauthorized party copies, transfers, or retrieves data from a company’s IoT ecosystem or devices without authorization.

Influence Data

IoT ecosystems and devices are susceptible to third party infiltrations to influence the data. As an example, IoT devices of Nielsen Ratings would be influenced to manipulate ratings for television channels.

Theft of Intellectual Property

Since IoT devices are deployed in the field, and do not have a physical or network perimeter around them, there is potential for intellectual property about how these devices are built, or how they connect to the internet, to be stolen.

Lose Device Control

As an example, an IP based security camera being taken over and used in large botnets.

 

Research performed by Lockheed Martin has determined that for hackers to exploit vulnerabilities, they need to follow a specific chain of events to take over IoT devices – referred to as a cyber kill chain. It is imperative for security to be designed into IoT devices and ecosystems to thwart these threats. Roadblocks, known as the defence and depth perspective, must therefore be put in place.

Devices must be resilient to these attacks and must continue to operate flawlessly both during and after an attack. Ignoring these threats poses significant risks – interruptions to operations, compromised proprietary information, and damage to an organization’s brand and reputation.

IoT and Blockchain Integration

In the IoT realm, blockchain is used for supply chain security and validity. Integrating IoT with blockchain enables independently verifiable transparency and visibility into shared business processes. With this integration, businesses have the opportunity to generate new sources of revenue, cut costs, and improve trust and customer experiences.

An example of a conceptual architecture for IoT and blockchain integration by Gartner illustrates the separate responsibilities of the IoT network (such as collecting data from things for supply chain optimization) and blockchain (such as collecting supply chain state changes for auditability).

IoT and Blockchain Integration Diagram

Click on the image to enlarge

Make IoT Security a Priority

IoT security is far more than protecting data – it is about having a holistic view of IoT devices, the larger IoT ecosystem, raw and derived data, and deployment environments that are able to identify any source of potential vulnerability.

Who is responsible for securing IoT infrastructures? In their recent book “Fifth Domain,” Richard A. Clarke and Robert K. Knake state that in reality there is no internet czar that is going to put up a wall and restrict hackers. They argue that as a free economy and society, we do not place walls around companies, people or nation-states.

Therefore, any organization that is part of an IoT ecosystem must take full responsibility for security. Assuming that “it is taken care of” and abdicating this responsibility could lead to dire consequences.

Partnering with Experts in IoT Security

Any organization adopting or integrating IoT technologies will face implementation challenges. For many, partnering with companies with the technology and expertise to secure devices and environments makes the most sense because it significantly reduces learning curves, development costs and time to market.

Allegro Software specializes in the development of secure IoT software components, and our proactive approach to IoT security has benefited some of the largest companies in the world. Allegro’s IoT security technologies are constantly being updated and meet all of the latest security and accreditation requirements.

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Let’s Talk IoT Security

Implementing IoT device security can be a challenge. Let us help you by sharing our proven framework for integrating a proactive security approach into your design. Click the button below to schedule a one-on-one web conference to discuss your security needs.

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