What is Internet of Things (IoT)?

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is defined as the billions of physical devices all around the world that are now connected to the internet, all fetching and sharing data. Thanks to the arrival of super-cheap computer chips and the pervasiveness of wireless networks, it's possible to transform anything, from something as small as a pill to something as big as an airplane, into a part of the IoT. Linking up all these different objects and adding sensors to them integrates a level of digital intelligence to devices that would be otherwise dumb, enabling them to communicate real-time data without involving a human being. The Internet of Things is making the fabric of the world around us smarter and more responsive, combining the digital and physical universes.

In a nutshell, IoT involves integrating internet connectivity to a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals and/or people. Each "thing" is offered a unique identifier and the ability to automatically shift data over a network. Enabling devices to connect to the internet opens them up to a number of serious vulnerabilities if they are not properly protected.

IoT Need Security:

IoT security is the technology area focused on protecting the connected devices and networks in the internet of things (IoT).IoT security has become the topic of heavy scrutiny after a number of high-profile incidents occurred where a common IoT device was utilized to infiltrate and attack the larger network. Implementing security measures is of utmost importance in ensuring the safety of networks with IoT devices connected to them.
 

8 Types of IoT Security Threats

  1. Botnets:

    A botnet is a network that integrates several systems together to remotely take control over a victim’s system and distribute malware. Cybercriminals control botnets with the help of Command-and-Control-Servers to steal confidential and important data, steal online-banking data, and perform cyber attacks such as DDoS and phishing. Cybercriminals can use botnets to attack IoT devices that are linked to various other devices such as laptops, desktops, and smartphones.

  2.  Denial of service:

    A denial-of-service (DoS) attack persistently tries to execute a capacity overload in the target system by sending multiple requests. Unlike phishing and brute-force attacks, attackers who implement denial-of-service don’t focus on stealing critical data. However, DoS can be utilized to slow down or paralyze a service to hurt the reputation of a business. For example, an airline that is attacked with denial-of-service will be unable to process requests for booking a new ticket, checking flight status, and canceling a ticket. In such cases, customers may switch to other airlines for air travel. Similarly, IoT security threats such as denial-of-service attacks can completely hamper the reputation of businesses and affect their revenue generation plans.

  3. Man-in-the-Middle:

    In a Man-in-the-Middle (MiTM) attack, a hacker infiltrates the communication channel between two individual systems in an attempt to intercept messages among them. Attackers gain control over their communication and send illegitimate messages to participating systems. Such attacks can be utilized to hack IoT devices such as smart refrigerators and autonomous vehicles.

  4. Identity and Data Theft:

    Multiple data breaches surfaced in 2018 for compromising the data of millions of people. Confidential information such as personal details, credit and debit card credentials, and email addresses were stolen in these data breaches. Hackers can now attack IoT devices such as smart watches, smart meters, and smart home devices to gain additional data about various users and organizations. By fetching such data, attackers can perform more sophisticated and detailed identity theft.

  5. Social engineering:

    Hackers use social engineering to control and manipulate people into giving up their sensitive information such as passwords and bank details. Alternatively, cybercriminals may utilize social engineering to access a system for secretly installing malicious software. Most of the time, social engineering attacks are performed using phishing emails, where an attacker has to generate convincing emails to manipulate people. However, social engineering attacks can be simpler to perform in case of IoT devices.

  6. Advanced persistent threats:

    Advanced persistent threats (APTs) are major security concern for several organizations. An advanced persistent threat is a focused cyber attack, where an intruder gains illegal access to a network and stays undetected for a prolonged period of time. Attackers focus on monitoring network activity and steal crucial data using advanced persistent threats. Such cyber attacks are difficult to prevent, detect, or mitigate.

  7. Ransomware:

    Ransomware attacks have become one of the most infamous cyber threats. In this attack, a hacker uses malware to encrypt data that may be needed for business operations. An attacker will decrypt critical data only after receiving a ransom.

  8. Remote recording:

    Documents rolled out by WikiLeaks have exhibited that intelligence agencies know about the existence of zero-day exploits in IoT devices, smartphones, and laptops. These documents infer that security agencies were planning to record public conversations secretly. These zero-day exploits can also be utilized by cybercriminals to record conversations of IoT users. For example, a hacker can attack a smart camera in an organization and record video footage of everyday business activities. With this approach, cybercriminals can secretly fetch confidential business information. Such IoT security threats will also result in major privacy violations.

Challenges Associated with IoT Security

Since the idea of networking appliances and other objects is a relatively new concept there are several challenges that prevent the securing of IoT devices and establishing end-to-end security in an IoT environment. During a product's design phase security is always given the least amount of priority. Additionally, because IoT is a nascent market, many product designers and manufacturers are more eager in getting their products to market quickly, rather than taking the needed steps to build security in from the beginning.

  • A major issue associated with IoT security is the utilization of hardcoded or default passwords, which can result in security breaches. Even if passwords are changed, most of the time they are not that strong to prevent the infiltration.

  • Another common concern facing IoT devices is that most of the time they are resource-constrained and do not have the computational resources essential to implement strong security. As such, many devices do not or cannot provide advanced security features. For instance, sensors that monitor humidity or temperature cannot handle advanced encryption or other security measures.

  • Plus, as many IoT devices are "set it and forget it" -- placed in the field or on a machine and left untouched until end of life -- they hardly ever get any security updates or patches. From a manufacturer's perspective, building security in from the start can be costly, slow down development and cause the device not to function as it should.

  • Connecting legacy assets not inherently engineered for IoT connectivity is another security challenge. Swapping legacy infrastructure with connected technology is considered cost-prohibitive; which will result in many assets being retrofitted with smart sensors. However, as legacy assets that likely have not been updated or ever had security against modern threats, the attack surface is expanded.

  • IoT security is also infected by a deficiency of industry-accepted standards. While several IoT security frameworks exist, there is no ideal framework agreed-upon. Big companies and industry organizations may have their personalized specific standards, while certain segments, such as industrial IoT, have proprietary, incompatible standards from industry leaders. The variety of these standards makes it difficult to not only secure systems, but also ensure interoperability between them.

Experts Recommend following ways to overcome these challenges:

  • When releasing data systems in any environment, security teams are traditionally provided with three options: fast, secure, and cheap. Unfortunately, reality often forces organizations to choose only two, leaving security out of the equation while cost and convenience remain the bane of data protection efforts for years to come. Therefore experts recommend to get rid of “connect first, secure later” attitude.

  • As physical device life cycles inevitably eclipse the manufacturer's security maintenance life cycles, organizations must set up their own comprehensive strategies for secure IoT deployment. Sharing responsibility for safety is crucial

  • Deficiency of cohesive and comprehensive industry legislation and standards, organizations can develop and enforce their personalized practices for IoT security.

  • The inclusion of 5G technologies will truly revolutionize the IoT market by freeing its potential through greater bandwidth, lower latency, increased capacity, reduced costs, and a slew of other benefits. While this is projected to increase device management capabilities from thousands of devices per square mile to millions, poor security practices are estimated to boost the threat landscape exponentially.

Market Perspective for IoT Security

The Global IoT Security Market was valued at around USD 8.7 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach at USD 5.8 billion by the end of 2027 registering a substantial CAGR of 27.0% over the forecast period, 2019-2027.

Hackers are targeting IoT devices and leveraging on known vulnerabilities, such as those related to default username, password, and static code backdoor. Nowadays, all the verticals are adopting automation with the integration of IoT. Critical infrastructures, such as electricity, water, and other important resources, are among the early adopters of IoT and are in the phase of automation. Automation, while making the operations much more efficient, has also made the systems open to cyber-attacks. The growing vulnerability of critical systems is now the major concern of all governments. Either accidental or notorious interference with the controls of a nuclear reactor poses a gruesome threat to human life and property.

Impact of COVID-19 on the Market

As for current market environments, considering the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it is expected that industrial markets will continue to drive IoT demand; however, growth in the communications and medical fields is anticipated to accelerate. Overall, only a few markets are estimated to remain strong amid COVID-19, and IoT security is definitely one of them. Security surrounding IoT deployments in crucial infrastructure such as in the commercial and industrial markets is fundamentally essential. Because of government-imposed restrictions and a deficiency of available cybersecurity personnel, adversaries are expected to aim at critical infrastructure more aggressively, with fewer resources able to respond to evolving threats.

The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has resulted in most of the organizations to set up remote working of the employees. This has resulted in a major upsurge in the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend. As these devices are potentially vulnerable because of lack of efficient security solutions, the demand for endpoint security is amplifying during the lockdown period. Also, COVID-19 has also propelled the demand for managed IoT security services to protect the data of employees as well as organizations. According to a survey, 67% of the companies are anticipating the “Work from Home” norm to be permanent. Well, this is expected to change the business models and bring out creative strategies to capture the market.

Latest Developments by Some Prominent Players in the Market

  •  Cisco (US):

    The Valor Games Southeast community—a group of veterans with disabilities—understands what it’s like to experience difficult challenges. Since 2013, the annual adapted sports competition for these veterans has focused on redefine disability through sports and competition. Because of the global pandemic, the Valor Games Southeast has had to innovate once again by pivoting the in-person event to fully virtual through video conferencing with the help of Cisco Webex. 

  • IBM (US):

    IBM launched, X-Force Red that can test any IoT devices, backend infrastructure and mobile applications to uncover and help fix vulnerabilities that elevate risk the most.

  • Infineon (Germany):

    In July 2020, Cypress, an Infineon Technologies company, announced production availability of its PSoC 64 Standard Secure Amazon Web Services (AWS) microcontroller (MCU). This new MCU includes pre-validated security firmware that helps designers substantially reduce design risks and R&D costs, and accelerate time-to-market. 

  • Intel (US):

    Intel has gotten into a partnership group with First Book to roll out the Creating Learning Connections Initiative, which is engineered to fuel education by supporting students in Title I-eligible school districts hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program provides underserved students and educators access to important tools and resources, consisting of internet connectivity, technology devices and hands-on STEAM learning solutions.

Other prominent players include Symantec (US), Allot (Israel),, Mocana (US), SecuriThings (Israel), CENTRI (Germany), Armis (US), ForgeRock (US), and NewSky (US).

Regional analysis of the Market

  • North America Region:

    In 2019, North America accounted for an impressive market share and is anticipated to follow the trend during the forecast period. The presence of major players in the market and early adoption of the latest technologies such as IoT and AI is driving the growth of the market. Various retail and healthcare companies are extensively integrating wireless network security solutions to protect the data and avoid malicious attacks. This market region is observing the emergence of several industry players as many IT companies are expanding their portfolio in the security solutions. The surging number of smart homes is also acting as a major growth driver in the market. Moreover, the growing trend of cloud-based solutions is augmenting the growth of the market.

  • Asia Pacific Region:

    The Asia Pacific region is projected to provide lucrative opportunities in the coming future. This region is expected to expand at a CAGR of more than the global growth rate. To be precise, emerging economies such as India and China is projected to offer opportunities to the new entrants and emerging players in the market region. Government initiatives to support the local players in these countries are anticipated to encourage new players and companies to expand their product portfolio. For example, in the lockdown period, Indian Government rolled out the campaign name “Vocal for Local” which stated to support or choose local companies over international ones.

  • Middle East & Africa Region:

    This market region is projected to grow at an exponential rate in the forecast period attributing to the swift growth in the IT infrastructure. According to the research, the Wi-Fi as a Service (WaaS) market is speculated to expand at a substantial CAGR during the forecast period. Several foreign companies are setting up their base in the Middle East & Africa which is expected to fuel the growth of the wireless network security market. Moreover, the swift growth of the BFSI and retail sector in this region is spurring market growth.


Also, Europe and Latin America region is expected to grow at a robust rate owing to the expansion of IT infrastructure and innovation in the manufacturing facilities.

In a Nutshell

IoT security calls for the protection of both private and public sectors from professional cybercriminals and sophisticated IoT threats. Cybercriminals are utilizing multi-layered cyber-attacks to monitor the intelligence and commercial aspects of individuals, enterprises, and even nations. Hence, organizations are searching for integrated security solutions. Fresh integrated security solutions enable organizations to both cut the cost and improve the safety of their facility. Standalone security solutions are not capable of handling such types of unified threats. Above all, the cost of implementation and monitoring of individual solutions is pricey. Hence, the requirement for integrated security solutions is anticipated to amplify and eventually lead to higher market demand for all the individual security components.