16 Aug 2022


Security Implication of the Internet of Things

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The Internet of Things (IoT) can be described as s system of interconnected devices that have the ability to transfer information over a computer network without the need of human-to-computer or human-to-human interaction. Gartner predicts that there will be 25 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020. Cisco on the other hand predicts that there will be 50 billion connected devices, inclusive of a quarter billion autonomous vehicles. The IoT makes the internet invisible and pervasive from connected vehicles, to connected homes as well as our work and social lives. The rapid advancement of information and communication technologies has made it possible for the proliferation of IoT devices as they have proven to be more convenient than before. The IoT allows people and things to be connected in real-time, with anything, in any place in anytime and with anyone.

The potential benefits of the Internet of Things are limitless and the Internet of Things applications are changing the way we live and work saving on resources and time and also by opening new opportunities for innovation, knowledge creation and growth. The IoT allows for the autonomous exchange of important information between embedded devices that are invisible through cutting edge technologies like Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) and Radio Frequency Identification. As more devices get connected to the IoT, the security of the information is at stake because wireless communication networks are highly susceptible to network attacks. Most of the deployed IoT applications are in healthcare, transportation, music and the military. The internet of things promises applications such as smart homes, cities, environment and energy all aimed at making human life easier. With all the advanced capabilities if the IoT in the era of information exchange, the security of IoT is flawed and steps have to be taken before the implementation of IoT.

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The massive growth in the connection of IoT devices come with potential benefits as it will simplify the way people carry out everyday tasks. For example, connected healthcare devices will allow for people to play a more active role in their own health. All these benefits, however, comes at a risk, as connected devices will present many entry points to cybercriminals and hackers. From a security standpoint, the entire communication infrastructure of the Internet of Things is flawed and hence susceptible the loss of privacy by the end users. Most of the information security loopholes available in IoT technologies is the relay of information from one device to another. In the coming years, the usage of IoT devices is expected to rise significantly and this will also lead to the IoT networks prone to security attacks. In 2015, hackers were able to take down a power grid in the western region of Ukraine and this was the first case of a blackout to ever be caused by a cyber-attack. With this in mind, the commercial power outage in Ukraine could be just the beginning as the hackers could be simply looking for a way to strike down critical infrastructures such as chemical plants, power grids, and hydroelectric dams.

Aside from the numerous security issues that are to be experienced by the Internet of Things devices, the average consumer is also concerned about their privacy. If the consumer's entire life is connected, then what is off limits from the numerous information that is being shared either knowing or unknowingly? Though a blessing in disguise, the Internet was mainly designed to allow people to communicate. The IoT takes the people factor out of the equation thus letting machines talk amongst themselves unimpeded. By deciding to take humans entirely outside the loop with machines deciding, acting and sensing on their own brings about immense potential control and monitoring problems.

With over 10 billion devices already connected to the IoT and this number increases each year, human identity has solely been left to the machines. Connected devices through the IoT has some kind of interrupted access that is granted through the use of credentials that gives them access through wireless networks, control of physical equipment or bank accounts. With IoT, devices may be replaced frequently and the number of devices expected to join the IoT will make trust management algorithms useless. Webs of trust are expected to become more complex and more levels of trust within connected devices in smart homes and communities may be required.

Voluntary self-publication with social networks and blogs has already amazing proportions. In addition to the involuntary gathering of information from the ubiquitous collection of video, audio and location information is likely to increase as inter-connected devices become a common-place. Without regulatory and technological protections, the ubiquitous collection of information can be used to identify and track individuals as well as their behaviors. In March 2018, it was revealed that Facebook has been collecting vast amounts of SMS and call records data from android devices for years from a report revealed by Cambridge Analytica. Facebook has now reported that it's reducing its SMS and call data collection on Android and iOS devices when clearly the company never needed all the information that it collected on call history and SMS data form the past three years. With these developments from Cambridge Analytica, it is clear that users of the internet are not aware of what information they are sharing over the internet and on its use as well.

My research paper will address the technical and societal concern on the rapid growth of IoT technologies that are being introduced into the market as well as the security implications that this will have on their personal information. The paper will also address the regulations and policies that are to be put in place so as to avoid the uninformed collection of personal data that can be sold to third parties without the consent of users of connected devices.

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 17). Security Implication of the Internet of Things.


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