Rapid IoT Growth: How to Protect Privacy and Bolster Security?

In 2017, a US based company started raising funds for Smalt – a smart salt shaker (yes, it is a real thing). It was advertised as the world’s first interactive centerpiece and could be controlled with phones and Amazon Echo. It plays music, has multi-colored romantic lightning, dispenses salt and monitors salt consumption.

There has been a significant rise in interconnected devices. From smartphones to smart speaks, and now smart salt shakers, everything is getting interconnected. While smart devices are definitely handy, they may cause grave concerns for security specialists as they may come up with various kinds of unforeseen vulnerabilities.

Security specialists are already losing sleep over Amazon Echo Alexa. Dr. Christian Probst,  Director High Tech Transdisciplinary Research Network at Unitec Institute of Technology, said that he does not understand why anyone would need a smart salt shaker. He added that cybersecurity experts are concerned and informed about the dangers lurking in the cyber world, but a majority of people are still ignorant about security risks concerning IoT devices.

One of the causes behind such a product’s popularity is that people get excited about products which can hook up to other products in a broad array of channels. However, this is exactly the reason behind such a product’s vulnerability. Since such devices are interconnected, if a cybercriminal gains unauthorized access to the Smalt, then they will be able to access other devices hooked up to the same network. The cyber attacker will be able to hack into the smartphone, email account, etc.

Companies are being pressured to become more conscious of such susceptibilities in network hardware too. In a shocking case which took place in a North American casino, the casino has set up an internet-connected fish tank. This internet connectivity ensured that the aquarium could be monitored remotely, the water temperature and salinity could be adjusted automatically, and the fish feeding was automated as well.

Cybercriminals hacked into the network by exploiting a flaw in the aquarium’s thermometer and managed to steal 10 GB data from the same casino.

In order to stop such data breaches, experts are needed in a growingly wide range of sectors. Probst states that specialists must possess a fundamental knowledge of how to create applications that are secure, understand the way data should be handled, understand how data encryption works and keeps it sage, and must be able to develop systems that can connect to others safely and securely.

According to Probst, all organizations must understand the process of assessing risk regarding data and network security. Therefore, organizations should hire white hat hackers and security specialists.

Security vulnerabilities may not always be due to technology, it may be due to human error. Ignorant people may fall victims to frauds over email, unknowingly download a software laced with malware, expose the data, and even expose entire networks.

Some attacks are technological. DDOS attacks are targeted attacks which crash a server by overwhelming it. Spyware, a kind of malware, keeps and maintains a track of all the keys that are logged.

Given that the world is getting more and more connected every day, the demand for security experts and specialists is bound to boom.

John Morrison is a Microsoft Office expert and has been working in the technical industry since 2002. As a technical expert, John has written technical blogs, manuals, white papers, and reviews for many websites such as office.com/setup

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