IoT Knowledge Center

The Outside-in and Inside-out of IoT Security

Sunitha / 04 Mar 2021 / IOT Industry | IOT AI

IoT or the Internet of Things encompasses the scores of physical devices located all around the world that are collecting and sharing data through the Internet. Connecting different kinds of objects with sensors allows them to communicate real-time data. This process does not involve any human interaction. We are now poised on the threshold of a smart environment – where smart devices and merging the physical and digital spaces. 

Today, nearly any object or device can be turned into an IoT device. From simple home gadgets or kid’s toys to driverless trucks and self-driving cars, IoT technology has equipped us with the power to control many aspects of our environment. The advent of cheap and power-frugal processors has made it possible to turn many devices into connected devices. The increasing penetration of Internet access along with rapidly expanding wireless and cellular technology have been the catalysts. There are scores of applications in various industries that have revolutionized the way manufacturing and other activities are carried out. From tracking huge containers on cargo ships to tracking your pet, IoT devices can do that for you!. With the rapid growth of IoT, digital transformation, automation, and data-driven businesses are growing. The possibilities when physical devices are interconnected with communication possibilities and sensing capabilities are endless!


IoT Applications

Wearables: Some of the examples of wearable devices are GPS tracking belts, fitness bands, and virtual glasses. With built-in sensors, these energy-efficient wearable devices collect readings and measurements about the wearer. These are most often connected to health apps. 

IoT wearables help in monitoring vital signs so that the healthcare professionals are alerted if the readings are not within the acceptable range. IoT wearables can help in monitoring body temperature, oximeter, blood pressure and sugar, and other parameters. IoT sensors can automatically alert the healthcare personnel or emergency services if the wearer’s readings are not steady or if the person has a fall or suffers a stroke. This is particularly useful for seniors or those living alone.

Logistics: With fleet vehicles equipped with sensors, it becomes easier to manage them as there is effective connectivity between the vehicles and their organizing managers. Route deviations or accident information can be gathered in real-time. By integrating with GPS, transportation companies can determine parking needs, traffic patterns, and road conditions.

Agriculture: With IoT sensors, considerable data on soil characteristics can be gathered. This goes a long way in identifying the presence of diseases in soil and plants. Farmers get information about the presence of soil nutrients and soil moisture as well as other soil characteristics. IoT devices can help with indoor planting as well as automatic sprinkler systems. 

Energy Savings: With the appropriate use of smart energy meters, energy consumption patterns can be detected. Identifying faults and planning repairs becomes easier. The electrical grid can be better monitored and controlled. 

Water Supply: Similarly, when sensors are attached to water meters, the consumption patterns can be tracked and unnecessary wastage can be avoided. Faults in the water supply can be better identified and rectified.

Hospitality: Electronic keys, automation of room service, and other requests are some of the possibilities with IoT in the hospitality sector. 

Maintenance: IoT technology is particularly useful in the maintenance of equipment and machinery. Better care can be taken of these physical assets and their useful life can be extended. Equipment availability and reliability get increased with real-time monitoring. GPS and RFID technology can help manage manufacturing and industrial automation. Bottlenecks in factory production can be identified. 

Smart Homes: Today, many consumer durables are equipped with sensors and Internet connectivity. Be it laptops and coffee machines, refrigerators, and televisions, smart homes are easier to monitor and control. You can start your oven or crockpot from your mobile application. You could control and monitor the people entering your house. You could set your home environmental controls to keep it comfortable when you get home.


IoT Security

Since all the devices are connected and considerable sensitive data passes through the Internet, the IoT technology is fraught with security challenges. Users might not be conversant with the usage of the devices. Often, devices are not correctly maintained. 

  • The IoT devices often have weak security systems and easily become targets to malicious software and cybersecurity risks. The risks are real – be it with IoT devices that are installed in homes, industries, or even wearables. 
  • The IoT devices must be periodically updated and tested thoroughly before implementation. Devices with outdated software are vulnerable to security breaches and malware attacks.
  • Home intrusions can occur if the IoT devices are poorly configured. Cybercriminals can hack your VPNs and secure your login credentials and gain entry into your house.
  • The threat of financial fraud is very high. These risks can be mitigated if the right security protocols are followed. 
  • When a particular IoT device is breached, it works as a rogue device. It collects confidential information and steals communication data without the user being aware.


Tips to Enhance IoT Security

  • Ensure that your IoT devices have unique passwords. Change them at regular intervals and don’t use the same password for all your devices.
  • Ensure that your network has access restricted only to authorized persons.  
  • Don’t opt for Universal Plug & Play features as it might make your network prone to suspicious attacks. 
  • Update your IoT device software when security patches are offered.
  • Another IoT security issue is data siphoning. The IoT device must be safeguarded from malicious hackers who can eavesdrop on the network traffic. This makes sensitive data vulnerable, especially when used for security and other regulated industries. The data transmitted on the network must be encrypted for safety.
  • When a hacker attacks the centralized network, the endpoint IoT devices will be restricted from functioning effectively. “The denial of services” is another common risk for IoT devices.


Data Security

The protection of data and data systems is a major concern for all organizations. Security provisions that prevent unauthorized data/system:

  • Access
  • Use
  • Sharing
  • Altering
  • Interference
  • Destruction

These skills are critical to every organization. IoT devices, which are linked to massive data storage centers, are vulnerable points that pose a threat of a breach. The information security team is, therefore expected to find and fix flaws in the IoT software before hackers exploit them.


IoT Careers

With most economies rapidly shifting to IoT technology, there are plenty of career opportunities in the field. The areas for IoT jobs are broadly in the spheres of network and security, device and hardware, IoT security, and data analytics. For jobs in IoT design and manufacture, proficiency in AutoCAD design, MEMS (microelectromechanical systems), and wireless sensor modeling is essential. CAD design skills help in designing IoT consumer wearables.  IoT security jobs involve finding and fixing flaws in the IoT software to keep them safe from hackers. Beginners to IoT jobs can gain skills in UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) as well as graphic and product designs. Another area of IoT careers is mobile applications where skills in wireless technologies, mobile technologies, and cloud computing are required. Job opportunities in the IoT field include data scientists, embedded engineers, data visualization experts, data architects, instrument engineers, programmers, material specialists, cloud engineers, designers, and UI engineers.


Mobile Applications

Three engines are expected to propel IoT into a mainstream phenomenon. They are:

  • Cloud computing
  • Wireless technologies
  • Mobile technologies

From IoT to augmented and virtual reality and from personal life to business, smartphones are transforming the lives of every human being. This revolution was made possible due to mobile apps.

  • AutoCAD design
  • Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)
  • Wireless Sensor Modeling
  • Quality management

Besides, hardware technicians with excellent communication and conflict management skills — useful while working with the design and manufacturing departments — will enjoy an edge over others.

Millions of Job opportunities are waiting for talented and skillful people in the era of IoT. There are different types of job roles offered by the IoT industry, let's have a quick look at where you can fit in the best.

  • Cloud Engineer - It is one of the job roles where a person needs to establish and deploy the middleware and NoSQL database to collect the data from the IoT devices.
  • Designer - CAD designers can help the IoT industry to better design the device such as wearables.
  • Material Specialist - People with this job role are good at understanding and finding which material should be used that can embed a sensor in it.
  • Embedded Engineer - These engineers are responsible for developing and implementing software of the embedded devices.
  • Network Engineer - Those who help in establishing a computing network or choosing a suitable gateway and more.
  • Data Scientist - They help in analyzing the collected data using in-memory computing or batch processing and converting it into useful information.
  • Data Visualization Expert - The task of these profiles is to present the information visually to make it more understandable. 
  • UI Engineer - These people help in designing the easy and interactive user interface of the IoT devices. 
  • Data Architect - Those who design the data model. 
  • Instrument Engineers - They are responsible for handling actuators, sensors for the closed-loop system.
  • Test Engineers - Who test the functional aspects of IoT devices.
  • Programmer - Who programs the backend and integrates it with middleware and cloud databases.