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Internet of Things Security Vulnerabilities and Regulations for Healthcare, Transport, and Energy Industry

Internet of Things – The emergence of technology and interconnectedness comes with a price. The price that has to be paid by the small and large enterprise in the form of security threats. For any Tom, Dick, and Harry, the things might not as serious as it is made to look – but it isn’t the case.

Having an internet connection at home is enough for a family guy to manage smart home devices, stream movies, and play games. If the guy has a little bit of knowledge about cyber threat, he would simply install antivirus software on his system or find an ISP offering security suite on its plans such as Spectrum packages that includes security suite. But when it comes to large scale industries, a cyberattack can lead to the loss of billions of dollars.

Large and small enterprises are reluctant to deploy technologies as a means to ease various business operations. One of the technologies gaining hype with each passing day is the Internet of Things. Whether it be agriculture, retail, healthcare, or supply chain, IoT is rapidly taking the place.

However, the fact is that with rapid adoption, companies have to pay a bigger price i.e. security and regulation of emerging technologies. And IoT is not an exception.

In this post, we are going to reveal the “internet of things” security vulnerabilities, and how to deal with them. Moreover, we will also look at some stats, figures revealing the overall spending, and vulnerabilities.

Let’s begin.

IoT Security Statistics

  • According to Gartner, the estimated IoT devices will be 25 billion by the end of 2021
  • A survey conducted by The Ponemon Institute and Shared Assessments found that 76% of experts believe that cyberattacks in their organization are probable to be executed through the Internet of Things.
  • A report by SonicWall found that IoT malware attacks surged to 215.7% to 32.7 million in 2018, compared to 10.3 million in 2017. In the first two quarters of 2019, the numbers exceeded the first two quarters of 2018 by 55%.
  • B2B IoT devices will surge from 2.5 billion in 2017 to 5.4 billion in 2020 according to IoT market trends
  • According to Forbes, five big companies controlling 13,300 IoT related patents subjugate the IoT market.

With the phenomenal increase in IoT devices and adoption in almost every industry, the security vulnerabilities won’t be easy to handle. Many industries look to SASE, an acronym for Secure Access Service Edge, as a critical foundation to security measures. Here’s a look at some of the security measures that need to be taken without any negligence.

IoT in Healthcare

Since its inception, IoT has been largely adopted by healthcare professionals. It has played a major role in eliminating the gaps and obstacles for patients and doctors by offering services in homes, offices, and hospitals.

The first and foremost advantage of IoT in healthcare is that doctors and healthcare specialists can diagnose patients without their presence. Whether they are traveling, at home, or in the office, doctors can diagnose the patients and recommend treatments.

According to a study, 57% of healthcare professionals incorporate visual analytics to enhance personalized treatment.

Just take an example of IoT solutions like diabetes management systems, monitoring devices, and wearable smart pills that can allow health professionals to monitor health conditions and recommend treatments. The Internet of things is improving healthcare in all areas whether it be post-cancer care or health management through smartwatches.

However, with the use of smart devices and data transfer, there lies a greater risk of cyberattacks, which is quite alarming for the healthcare industry. Over the years, the healthcare industry has faced several threats as listed out by IBM. Just look at some of the cybersecurity risk mitigation strategies for IoT devices as recommended by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

  1. Healthcare professionals should maintain a list of IoT devices throughout the lifespan of devices.
  2. The healthcare associations should analyze the software security and firmware to find any susceptibilities
  3. The healthcare institutes should devise access management policies for the management and administrators with access to the data to avoid any unauthorized access.
  4. Internet of Things devices must be frequently analyzed and monitored to find any unusual activities and security threats

IoT in the Energy Industry

The Internet of Things is contributing to green energy to make the planet safer and livable. In the past, we have seen havoc in nature due to development by humans. After realizing the need for a green environment, energy devices are connected to IoT to reduce human intervention for greater efficiency and lesser errors. For instance, smart meters are being used to analyze and monitor information about the usage of non-renewable and renewable energy. It has made it easier for energy providers to control the production and delivery of renewable and non-renewable energy to households and industries.

With IoT’s vital role in contributing to a green environment and energy, the risk of cyber threats is also hovering in the air. For instance, if there are 500 smart meters connected to IoT, it provides access to 500 entry points to get into the system and steal data. To add fuel to the fire, third-party services can even possess a greater risk of being vulnerable to cyber threats. Avoiding such a situation is difficult but not impossible. For instance, energy devices connected to IoT should be monitored and tracked regularly. Also, the software and firmware must be monitored by professionals to remove any loopholes leading to cyberattacks.

IoT in Transportation

IoT in transportation is an effective way to eliminate the risks of accidents on roads. For instance, IoT based safety solutions can communicate bad weather conditions and potential accidents.

The objective of the United States Department of Transportation is to reduce car accidents by 80%. IoT solutions can help drivers to track traffic conditions at present and suggest a better route to help save time. Moreover, vehicle maintenance solutions can allow vehicle owners to track any issues and ensure timely repair and maintenance to avoid any accidents or car breakage on the road.

The Internet of things in transportation is also offering ease to logistic companies to create geofencing around a specific location and track shipment updates. Thus, IoT is providing logistics and transportation companies to work more accurately and efficiently.

Similar to the health and energy industry, transportation companies are also at a greater risk of cyberattacks. However, the risk of a cyberattack can be mitigated if the companies take cybersecurity seriously and respond appropriately.

A recent survey of 125 companies revealed: (Source)

  1. 64% of respondents testified that the process to lessen cybersecurity threats could be improved.
  2. 66% of the respondents were of the view that additional measures could be taken to protect against data abuse.

Precautions to be taken by Industries Relying on the Internet of Things

Changing Defaults Credentials and Settings of IoT Devices

As far as IoT is concerned, it is benefitting different industries to improve efficiency and accuracy. However, on the flip side, the risks of cyberattacks and threats are also haunting them. To avoid such situations, it is advised to change the default settings of IoT devices. Most of the IoT devices come with standard credentials. It could be easier for any hacker to get into the system or simply guess the default credentials. Make sure to change the default settings to avoid such a situation.

Adding Extra Layer of Security to IoT Devices

The best way to secure IoT devices is to use two-factor authentication to approve access. Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security that can only be bypassed through the user having One Time Password. The password is normally sent to the user’s mobile device or through email. Thus protecting the device from unauthorized access and lesser vulnerability to cyber-attacks.

Updating Software and Firmware of IoT Devices

IoT devices’ manufacturers push updates to protect the user’s data from vulnerabilities and cyberattacks. However, delaying updates unnecessarily could result in dangerous consequences. It is therefore important to update the software and firmware promptly and avoid any risks of cyberattacks.

Summing Up

The Internet of Things is maturing with each passing day. In the future, we are likely to see greater improvements and lesser security vulnerabilities. Big and small enterprises, looking forward to scaling up their business, need to adopt the technological changes for greater efficiency and profitability. However, things can turn upside down, if the security and regulation of technology are ignored, subsequently leading to shutting down of business.

Helpful Resource:  The Knowledge Blog

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Mir Baquer Ali

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Mir Baquer Ali

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