How to Secure the Growing Internet of Things

Next Generation Communications Blog

How to Secure the Growing Internet of Things

By: Paula Bernier, TMC Executive Editor

The Internet of Things is based on the concept of sharing large amounts of data – even if it’s a little bit at a time – in real time. The collection and analysis of such data can allow for better business intelligence, higher levels of safety and security, lower cost and more proactive maintenance, and potentially improved health and welfare.

But more connectivity and more data sharing also can mean more potential for security problems.

As a recent piece on The Washington Post suggested: “Concerned about people hacking into your email? Just wait until they hack into your bathroom mirror and release your naked selfies to the Internet. In an interview last year with Harvard Business Review, security expert Bruce Schneier suggested that the Internet of Things would be harder to secure than the web, mostly because ‘these are devices that are made cheaply with very low margins, and the companies that make them don’t have the expertise to secure them.’” 

Verizon’s “2015 Data Breach Investigations Report” released in April 15 notes that 5 billion IoT devices are expected to be in service by the end of the decade and predicts increased privacy-related issues related to wearables and medical devices. It also says that M2M device breaches might become the source of breaches into the larger network and lead to the development of tools like Shodan, designed to take advantages of weaknesses in the IoT. The report goes on to suggest that organizations with IoT implementations do threat modeling and attack exercises to determine potential attackers and their goals, and then figure out where sensitive data lives and how to secure it.

“IoT security has multiple enemies: human error, poorly designed or tested software, paparazzi, individual stalkers, hackers, governments – the list goes on,” Scott Nelson, CTO of IoT consultancy Logic PD, recently told TMCnet. “Security is important, in many applications critical, but it is also fleeting.”

The answer to IoT security, Nelson said, “is a combination of appropriate technology, contextual awareness, and good business judgment.”

Alcatel-Lucent, a veteran of the communications arena, is among the companies that help organizations implement and secure their IoT and M2M implementations.

“You need to keep sensitive data safe at all times,” Thierry Sens, Marketing Director Transportation Segment, Alcatel-Lucent noted in a recent blog, The Internet of (hacked) Things.  “And you need to keep satisfying consumers with compelling applications.”

That, Alcatel-Lucent says, calls for solutions that:

  • Deliver scalability from thousands to millions of endpoints
  • Performance optimized for IoT use cases and traffic patterns
  • Endpoint management capabilities that guarantee data security and integrity
  • Interoperability underpinned by best practices and industry standards
  • Security built around standard practices that eliminate the need for application-specific security solutions.

 IoT through its explosion of network-connected devices is what those with malicious intent would consider a target-rich hacking opportunity for creating havoc.  However, as Alcatel-Lucent explains a holistic approach to IoT deployments can and will greatly mitigate the risks.


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