IoT Application Security- In a relatively short period of time, the Internet of Things has transformed the world. While most people will focus on their computers and smartphones when considering internet-enabled devices, the IoT covers many business and home appliances – including televisions, refrigerators, and AC units.
More and more new devices are connecting to the internet on a daily basis. Research suggests there are more than 30 billion such devices online right now. IoT applications obviously boast a wide range of benefits, and their potential to grow is exciting for everything from the medical sector to video games.
Yet while it’s easy to appreciate the advantages of technology evolving, it is also important to realize the development of IoT applications also presents a fresh collection of challenges. Without addressing these correctly, those applications will not work effectively – and could even result in serious repercussions for users.
One of the biggest challenges is application security.
The security risks
If a device is IoT-enabled, this means it features sensors that receive and transmit data. These sensors are, in essence, actuators, as they control the device physically. When it comes to IoT firmware, this tends to incorporate a small operating system able to manage the communication (PAN, Cellular, LPWAN…) and the IoT edge applications running onto the device. The result: data is both sent and received via a private or public network dircetly or via a router.
Sadly, all of the components mentioned above are vulnerable to malicious attacks. As they effectively provide the surface for the attack, one of these components can be selected by a hacker who will then introduce it to malware – which can compromise the entire system.
Below are some examples of the attacks a hacker can launch onto an IoT system:
- Distributed DOS: A denial of service (DOS) happens when the IoT application cannot handle the level of traffic that is sent its way. This leads to the target host going down, resulting in it not being functional or responsive. When a device is online, it is a lot easier for attacks to come from several different sources, and this means a hacker can bring a system down with ease.
- Takeover the system: When the IoT application has poor levels of authorization and authentication due to weak encryptions and password protection, it opens the door for hackers. They can gain access to the system, control it, and ultimately take over.
- Spam attack: If no security is in place, it is easy for malware attacks to be sent to the IoT application via IP addresses.
- Injection attack: It’s not just IoT applications that are susceptible to injection attacks, but all web applications. The process involves adding an extra request to one which already exists, resulting in the system being compromised.