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From “If” to “When” – IoT is Transforming the Cybersecurity Landscape

Billions of people around the world have already connected to the Internet. In the years to come, we will see more and more physical objects connected to the Internet, which capable of communicating between each other without human interaction. Internet of Things (IoT) has quickly become the most significant transformation in our digital world that will potentially affect everyone and every business.

Unfortunately, any device connected to the Internet, such as IoT appliances and gadgets, have potential security vulnerabilities. We have already heard many networked devices that have become vulnerable to hacker ranging from baby monitor on air conditioners to cars. There are search engines for the Internet of Things, which will help that this happens even faster.

In the near future, we will see a lot of visualization and analytics tools associated with IoT, which can be accessed by anyone, at any time and at anywhere in the world through computer, mobile phones, tablets, wearables and any other smart devices.

While the IoT is entering our daily life, the cybersecurity risks pertaining to IoT are growing and are changing rapidly. In the IoT world, devices are always on and always connected. This change has made the anti-attack scenario from “if” to “when”.  Hackers can access everything from IP address to customer information, and they are able to cause damage, disrupt sensitive or personal data and steal intellectual property through the Internet.

The traditional cybersecurity management model is at the enterprise level. IT departments create firewalls to protect the business assets, and create some “hole” on the firewalls for their clients and business partners to access the business data. When designing the model, a trust boundary has already been defined.

The IoT world has totally changed the cybersecurity landscape, the interconnectivity of people, devices and organizations has opened up a whole new game of vulnerabilities. The risk of a company is only part of the model, the potential attacks to the connected devices become unexpected and unforeseeable:

  • Business is moving too fast, with new products entering the market all at risks, cybersecurity cannot keep pace.
  • Mobile devices make information accessible everywhere and at any time, this has made organizational boundary more complex.
  • Office computer is no longer the only type of devices that can be attacked. Cyber threat is making their way to other connected infrastructure such as power generation system or transportation system.
  • Enormous amount of data collected from the IoT devices will eventually sent to the some Cloud platforms, which means that if the sensors collect sensitive data, all the links between the sensors and the Cloud may have cyber threat problems.

“Many of us know there are threats when we go connect through the Internet with our devices. However, only few of us have been conditioned to think about the potential threats when using an Internet-connected thermostat, refrigerator, or other device. In our increasingly networked world, awareness of the potential risks is the first step toward protecting yourself.” (zonealarm)

Resources:

http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/EY-cybersecurity-and-the-internet-of-things/$FILE/EY-cybersecurity-and-the-internet-of-things.pdf

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