January 17, 2015

The Internet of Things (IoT) may be described as a network of devices connected to the internet to communicate and share valuable information. The concept entails internet connectivity beyond the traditional devices such as computers, tablets and smart phones to TVs, cars, electronic appliances etc. In a nutshell, every device that has an embedded technology to be able to connect to the internet comes under the category of Internet of Things.

Mainly, it consists of three essential components:

  • The devices themselves
  • The network that connects them to  other devices
  • The systems that can utilize the data shared through the connected devices

With the help of this infrastructure, the IoT can be used to make our lives better in a number of ways by allowing constant connectivity throughout the world, real time tracking of everything etc. However, every new technology comes with its own share of vulnerabilities, and so does the Internet of Things. Ranging from cross-site scripting, weak passwords to SQL injections and Heartbleed, there are a number of security concerns surrounding these devices. Some of them are:

  • Privacy Issues: Most of the IoT devices collect personal information of the user such as name, date of birth, address, bank account, credit card details etc. More disturbing fact is that most of these gadgets still transmit these particulars over the internet without any encryption. Thus, it is highly possible that this data may be misused by the cyber criminals.
  • Insufficient Authentication: There are many users who still rely on weak passwords that are short and easy to remember. A number of devices do not even require a strong password for the user to access the internet. Thus, it provides an easy way for the hackers to decode the password and penetrate the data stored.
  • Web Interface: One of the common security concerns with the Internet of Things is issues in the UI including issue poor session administration, cross-site scripting and weak default authorizations. This allows the hackers to identify user accounts and manipulate them by resetting passwords.
  • Insecure software: While downloading any software updates, most users do not use proper encryption. With such an error, the hackers can easily intercept these downloads and even see or modify them for their own benefit.

Given the above concerns, the manufacturers of IoT devices must take the necessary steps to ensure the user’s security while being connected to the internet.