The Internet of Things (IoT) is set to explode
- There are currently 8 billion IoT devices in circulation. Studies suggest that this number will exceed 25 billion by 2020.
- Research conducted by Gartner in 2016 indicates that more than 50 per cent of key business systems and processes will feature some component of IoT by 2020.
- In a recent survey conducted by Lieberman Software for its IoT Security Report, 23.9 per cent of the respondents said their organisation’s network was connected to 5,000 or more IoT devices at any point of time.
The dangers posed by IoT
- IoT creates a wider attack surface for cyber criminals. Hackers could penetrate vulnerable endpoints in an organisation’s system to launch attacks on public infrastructure such as smart traffic systems.
- Research by Bitdefender has revealed that four commonly used IoT products—namely, WeMo switch, LinkHub, LIFX Bulb and the MUZO Cobblestone audio receiver—are vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
- At a recent conference, university researchers demonstrated how the Nest thermostat—one of the most widely used smart home devices—could be hacked in less than 15 seconds.
- In 2016, the Mirai malware was used in a series of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks to cripple and disrupt several websites. The malware functioned as a botnet and converted consumer devices running Linux into remote controlled bots for large-scale attacks.
- Although IoT is a shared network that functions across the private and public sectors, there is no uniform set of standards to regulate it.
Organisations are unprepared
- 63 per cent of the respondents surveyed by Lieberman did not believe their organisation could effectively monitor all the IoT devices on their network, while 80 per cent expressed concern about attacks originating from IoT devices.
- Results of a 2016 survey conducted by Spiceworks indicated that 90 per cent of IT professionals feel that IoT devices lead to privacy and security issues in organisations; however, only one in three organisations were actively taking measures to counter these problems.
- 53 per cent of the respondents expected wearables to be the most likely source of an IoT security breach, followed by video equipment (50 per cent).
- As per a survey conducted by Tripwire and Dimensional Research in January 2017, 96 per cent of IT professionals believe there will be an increase in Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) attacks. 51 per cent said their organisations are unprepared for IIoT attacks, despite 64 per cent acknowledging the need to defend against such attacks.
Sources: ZDNet, Lieberman Red, Tech Pro Research, Wikipedia, Forbes, ReadWrite, Deloitte, CSO Online, Tripwire, Market Wired, DarkReading