Security for the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is about networks of devices with sensors, software, and network connectivity, that collect and exchange data, usually without any human intervention. As technology advances, nearly any object can be incorporated into the IoT. However, there are certain drawbacks to this widespread digitization. As the number of internet-connected devices grows, the data they generate becomes increasingly alluring to bad actors wishing to exploit vulnerabilities.
Therefore, it is by now generally accepted that safeguarding an IoT implementation is crucial to ensure the safety and privacy of users and the integrity of the data generated by these devices, involving a combination of hardware and software measures to protect the device, its data, and the network it is connected to.
Let’s look at the main measures:
Devices should be hardened against theft and damage and physical access to the devices and the network infrastructure should be restricted to authorized personnel only.
Authentication and Authorization
Ensuring that only authorized devices can access the network and implementing two-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized user access to the device and network.
Data transmitted between the device and other devices or the cloud should be encrypted to prevent interception by unauthorized parties.
Regular firmware updates to patch known security vulnerabilities.
Separating devices into different networks to limit the damage in case of a security breach.
Access Control and Firewalls
Implementing firewalls and access control mechanisms to prevent unauthorized access to the network. Access control mechanisms can also help limit the access of authorized users to only necessary resources.
Monitoring and Logging
Regular monitoring and logging of device activity to detect and respond to security incidents.
Devices and networks should be designed to protect the privacy of users and their data by implementing privacy policies, and data anonymization techniques.
IoT Security Policies
Applying a comprehensive security policy to standardize security measures and to ensure that all devices and users adhere to the same security standards.
Implementing these measures will improve the security of IoT devices and networks and help to protect them from cyber-attacks. However, it is vital to note that IoT security is an ongoing process, and measures must be continuously updated and improved to keep up with evolving threats. This requires regular security audits and risk assessments to identify potential vulnerabilities and address them before they can be exploited by attackers.
In many countries as well as internationally the awareness for the need for cyber security in IoT devices has grown significantly over the past years, not least due to some significant incidents (like the Jeep hack). As a consequence many standards, laws, regulations, and best practice recommendations have been issued and there exists a surprising number of these; some examples listed below:
ISO / SAE 21434 Automotive cybersecurity standard
Specifies engineering requirements for cybersecurity risk management regarding concept, product development, production, operation, maintenance and decommissioning of electrical and electronic (E/E) systems in road vehicles, including their components and interfaces.
NIST 800-82 Industrial Control System Security
Provides an overview of ICS and typical system topologies, identifies typical threats and vulnerabilities to these systems, and provides recommended security countermeasures to mitigate the associated risks.
ANSI / ISA / IEC 62443 Security for Industrial Automation and Control Systems
Defines requirements and processes for implementing and maintaining electronically secure industrial automation and control systems (IACS).
ETSI 303 645 Cyber Security for Consumer Internet of Things: Baseline Requirements
Provides a globally applicable standard for consumer IoT cyber security.
GDPR General Data Privacy Regulation in Europe
Though not specific to IoT, it is highly relevant as it sets out detailed requirements for companies and organisations on collecting, storing and managing personal data.