The Internet of Things can be as big as the smart grid or as small as an Apple watch. Machine-to-machine communications can transmit data about truck deliveries, rock mining operations, or your heart rate. And all of it has security implications for the devices, the data, and the people using each one.
Heres a quick rundown of three issues in IoT/M2M security that everyone should start out by addressing:
1. Anything connected to the Internet is hackable. Even Federal Trade Commission chairperson Edith Ramirez said this in her keynote speech at CES in January 2015. So your connected home, connected car, IoT healthcare monitors, smart meters, the smart grid, yes, it all has the potential for nefarious folks to break in and do nasty things. But pretty much no system we have, online or off, is 100% secure. For comparison, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that a car is stolen every 45 minutes in America and nearly half of this is due to driver errors such as leaving the keys in the car, parking outside in an unsafe area, or leaving valuables inside the car in plain view. So before we start worrying about someone hacking into our cars WiFi infotainment system, perhaps we should start locking our car doors.
That doesnt mean that IoT/M2M businesses arent thinking about security issues as well. Building authentication into devices from the start and making sure that data is secure at along the transmission process will go a long way to helping secure the Internet of Things. Also, consumers may be asked to opt-in or opt-out of data sharing at various levels, whether for specific devices or platforms, so keeping aware of whats being asked will be important for individuals.
2. IoT/M2M security has to be scalable. Unlike securing one computer or even one enterprise network, securing an IoT project requires looking at the security of a vast ecosystem of devices, connections, and data. The scale of an IoT/M2M deployment across one business application can grow quickly from hundreds of devices to thousands, all around the world. Each device may produce millions upon millions of pieces of data thats transmitted, collected, analyzed, and stored, and security should be considered at each step. This data becomes a vast stream the Big Data behind the Internet of Things. For example, just one connected household can generate a data point every six seconds and 150 million discreet data points per day. Any security plan should scale to handle this Big Data realm.
3. Long-term planning is crucial for secure devices. Upgrades may not always be easy with IoT/M2M devices because of how theyre deeply integrated into processes and systems. People buy a new car about every five years, so the connected car technology inside a vehicle may require over-the-air security updates or upgrades that can be done with regular dealer maintenance. Smart water meters, IoT air pollution measurement devices, smart parking systems, and the entire smart electricity grid may all have to be remotely accessed for security upgrades.
Designing security into your IoT/M2M business is the wise thing to do, both to protect consumer data and to save time and money down the line. Planning for scale and long-term use can help avoid some of the pitfalls surrounding Internet of Things security.
Find out more from our webinar with Aeris Chief Technology Officer, Syed Zaeem Hosain, on IoT security: