IoT Projects more Vulnerable to Threat of Cyber Attacks?

The proliferation of smart technologies like internet, hotspot, and other internet-of-things (IoT) in every walk of life has been seeing security getting compromised to an increasing extent. Though technologies and IoT have brought in their wake several advantages, there are many loopholes, thanks to which the threat of a possible cyber attack resulting in vast damage to property and life is looming large in the technology horizon. This makes it imperative that the technologies are adopted with adequate security systems in the entire ecosystem to eliminate chances of hacking.

The last few years have seen the deployment of smart technologies growing tremendously. Their adoption is not just limited to our office spaces but has made our life simpler by making complex procedures easier. For instance, medical devices and equipment connected to the internet are increasingly being adopted. These devices have altered the life of patients. The facility of gauging the health statistics at home without the need of having a doctor has improved wellbeing. Besides the healthcare segment, IoT devices are being adopted in the financial, infrastructure and many other sectors. For instance, the geosynchronous information system is used to survey the mining areas and get accurate data about the potential mines.

Lately, many instances of cyber attacks on IoT devices are coming to the fore, highlightin the risk involved in using smart technologies. One such incident was recently reported in Los Angeles where cyberattack stopped the printing of newspapers of one of the leading publishing houses -The Los Angeles Times. Computer malware attacks on the information technology system have also crippled infrastructure facilities such as power plants. Besides, the healthcare industry is also vulnerable to these attacks as IoT medical devices which are connected to the network have low resilience to cyber attacks. Medicals devices and implants such as cardiac pacemakers and infusion pumps can have severe effects on health if tampered by hackers. The risk of cyber attacks is such that it can disrupt the working of a hospital by destroying the entire information technology system. One such attack was the wanna cry ransomware which crippled the entire I T network of the hospital bringing the system down for weeks.

With a number of Internet of Things (IoT) projects taking a center stage, a range of sophisticated malware is being deployed by hackers to target these critical infrastructure projects. Moreover, any of these IoT projects are being targeted at the proof of concept stages itself, finds a new research report by Subex.

The telecom solutions provider released the findings of its State of Internet of Things (IoT) Security Report for the second quarter (April-June 2019) of this calendar year in New Delhi in August 2019. The report, based on threat intelligence data gathered from across 15 cities all over India, outlines key sectors being attacked, the methods of attack, malware, and variants deployed, key cities that are being attacked and studied by hackers, malware developers and hacktivist groups. The report reveals that the number of cyberattacks registered a 22 percent jump in the quarter. There has been a significant rise in reconnaissance attacks. While Mumbai, New Delhi, and Bengaluru are attracting the maximum number of cyberattacks, smart cities, financial services, and transportation sectors lead the sectoral rankings in terms of cybersecurity breaches.

The study identified over 2550 unique malware samples in the country which is the highest reported so far. Modular and military-grade malware is often used by specialist hackers and groups with budgets and access to research and development facilities or online shops that develop and sell such sophisticated malware. Increase in the number of attacks with a geopolitical motivation is also a trend the study has reported.

The high level of malware persistence reported is indicative of a larger trend. Hackers are becoming more patient and willing to wait to attack or steal data. Also, the newer malware variants being detected are stealthier and can evade detection for a longer duration of time than before the study found. Such malware operates by staying silent while keeping their footprint and signature below detection thresholds. They can also streamline their behavior to match network traffic and stay dormant until certain thresholds are breached.

In the wake of the many instances of cyber attacks coming to the fore, preparing for a likely attack and creating a framework against these attacks is essential. There are a few measures that can be taken to avoid hacking of IoT devices .

Encryption of healthcare data is the key to eliminate the chance of data invasion by a hacker. This can be done by using firewall software. Through encrypting the data is translated into codes and other languages that are not understandable to a third party and is only accessible to the one who has the password to the secured file.

Setting strong passwords is another measure which can be adopted with ease. The strength of the password also needs to be strong as this will make it difficult for the hacker to invade the system. Passwords must be set using a combination of letters, numbers, words and special characters.

Risks associated with cyber attacks are too great to ignore and there for adopting IOT into regular processes adequate measures need to be taken. Simple steps of limiting the footprint of data, using firewall protection software, among other measures can be followed. Lastly, the awareness of possible threats needs to be created to avoid any negligence.

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