Cyber Threats in the Internet of Things World

Sep 18, 2018

GianChrister Tome
International Marketing
PCCW Solutions

Cyber Threats are the Real Deal

With the continuous evolution of modern technology, cyber threats are rapidly growing at an alarming rate and this will be one of the biggest challenges that society and businesses will face in coming decades. Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that cybercrime will cost the world US$6 trillion annually by 2021. The extent of damage includes destruction of data, stolen money, lost productivity, theft of intellectual property, theft of personal and financial data, embezzlement, fraud, post-attack disruption to the normal course of business, forensic investigation, restoration and deletion of hacked data and systems, and reputational harm1.

Cyber threats affect diverse industries, in different forms and frequency, with increasing sophistication. Therefore, enterprises are increasingly shifting their security perspective in making sure that they consistently have complete visibility into their network, and upgrading their current legacy systems to combat threats. Different forms of technologies today are always under constant threat, and one of the main targets of cyber threats is the rise of IoT. This is an alarming trend as three of the top 20 attacks identified in the second quarter of 2018 targeted IoT devices. 2

Guarding Privacy and Data in the IoT Era

With increasing cybersecurity threats, especially in IoT, enterprises are constantly trying to search for effective measures to protect their valuable data, network and systems. Based on the recent Juniper research study, IoT cybersecurity solutions market is poised to hit US$6 billion globally by 2023. In addition, 65 percent of global organisations believe that operational technology and industry control systems security risks are more likely with IoT over the next year3. Considering that majority of businesses are running connected devices on a daily basis, the threat on privacy and data are major risks. There is in fact no special solution to keep records secure, although end-to-end security integration software does the job, it always starts with how organisations properly plan, strategize, and educate their employees about how they connect to these devices. This makes things simpler and in the process eliminating further complexities that can add burden to security.

There are certain ways for organisations to maintain security company-wide to protect their valuable data and personal information in the IoT world:

Protection of all devices – Anything that needs to be connected on the company network should be carefully and securely configured to avoid any security breach. This can also be achieved by centralising management of all network-connected devices. Through this method, IT teams would be able to easily update, configure, monitor, and maintain all company devices.

Implementing the DaaS framework – Since maintaining IoT connected devices is complex, adopting a Device-as-a-Service (DaaS) model can help in supporting the security of these devices. In the DaaS model, device deployment, management and maintenance are outsourced to an external provider, staffed by product-specific experts. With thorough device knowledge, DaaS specialists are well equipped to spot and solve vulnerabilities4. These arrangements enable businesses to lessen the burden on their IT team resources and improve flexibility to company hardware in terms of inventory monitoring and upgrades.

Smarter approach on hardware and software procurement – Companies should consider involving valuable teams, most importantly, their IT teams to make sure that the device and software being purchased by the organisation is equipped with secure endpoint protection when connected to the company network. In short, instead of merely adopting a cost-effective approach to equipment purchase, companies should also take cyber security into consideration.

Proper communication – Information and proper education are important elements in combating cyber threats. Senior management, different departments, and employees should be educated by their own IT team for them to understand the nature of cyber threats and its implications on the organisation as a whole.

Cybersecurity in IoT is Essential

Internet of Things in general deserves to be embraced as technology in our modern age continues to grow and evolve. Although IoT provides specific advantages for businesses and people as a whole, its vast device connectivity is the target of modern cyber threats. With this in mind, consumers and organisations need to be much more vigilant and establish solid IoT security to appreciate better device connectivity, whilst also protecting valuable data and personal privacy. The Internet of Things may never be 100 percent secure, but we can still mitigate threats with proper collaboration across stakeholders in hardware, software, network, and cloud to put the right technologies and measures in place.