It is projected that by 2025, 30.9 million devices will be interconnected due to the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). This presents both opportunities for increased access to technology and challenges in terms of cybersecurity for both individuals and companies.
According to A3sec, the IoT has become deeply ingrained in people's daily lives and its impact can be seen in various areas. As such, it has become a critical point for cybersecurity as it poses a threat to the theft of sensitive information and disruption of specific services to which consumers have access.
People interact with these devices on a daily basis, with smartwatches or voice assistants being some of the most common uses. But in a broader dimension, they unconsciously interact with these tools on a daily basis in cities that, for example, monitor security through facial recognition cameras or have automated their public lighting network to generate consumption efficiencies. (Statista chart of connected IoT and other devices from 2010 to 2025 in billions.)
However, the daily use of these tools poses several challenges since, unlike other devices that have been programmed from the beginning to protect critical information, these have an infrastructure that could be more susceptible to hacker activity.
As reported by the World Economic Forum (WEF), smart home IoT devices can receive more than 12,000 hack attempts in a single week on average, showing the level of exposure that this market faces.
And as digitization progresses, IoT devices become more important both in daily activities and in essential services provided by both companies and cities, so in the near future these attacks are expected to generate greater impacts in the economic field and their repercussions are more difficult to reverse.
According to a report by Verified Market Research, the consumer IoT market is expected to reach $153.8 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 16.69% from 2021. This growth can bring even more opportunities for cyber attackers to target.
The impact of IoT attacks goes beyond just economic and reputational damage to consumers. It's important to also consider the risks to critical services, such as healthcare, logistics, and energy, that are increasingly using IoT technology. Are we prepared for the future?
Towards more secure IoT systems
Being able to guarantee security in the networks in which IoT systems operate will be key to laying the foundations of an increasingly digitized world, in which interaction with these products and services is based on trust.
Given that these IoT devices can be used by cyber attackers as vehicles to directly attack both users and companies, it is important to redefine the security of these tools from the manufacturers themselves and reach a global consensus that allows progress towards regulations broader that shelters those who trust in these tools.
As the adoption of IoT systems grows in different industries such as finance, telecommunications, services, among others, it is important that companies anticipate the actions that manufacturers can take on their own and already shield their networks of cybercriminal activity under the premise of prevention, detection and reaction.
In the first instance, to strengthen their response capabilities, it is essential that companies carry out a complete inventory of each of their digital assets to be certain of what they must protect in the framework of the adoption of IoT systems. Likewise, they must optimize decision-making and base their cybersecurity strategies on data analysis, which will allow them to anticipate these threats and react in time to avoid impacts on their operation.
Automation and AI systems can improve the detection of unknown threats by identifying anomalous behavior and blocking possible fraud attempts in the management of consumer IoT devices that use biometric data.
Council on the Connected World, a community formed in 2019 to promote global governance and innovation in the field of IoT, also raises in a report the need to create a safer environment, which will also imply strengthening education in the long run in this area and promote vulnerability disclosure policies.
Ultimately, the goal is to improve collaboration among all stakeholders, including academia, technology companies, government agencies, and civil society, to develop a comprehensive plan of action that will ensure long-term trust in IoT technology, which is meant to make people's lives easier but is also vulnerable to various threats. It's crucial to act now to secure a more interconnected and safer world in the future. It's time to protect the future.