Several forecasts have been made about the boom of the Internet of Things. As of recent, these innovations in the line of IoT are made possible by M2M communication. As of today, there are 3 billion devices connected to the internet, however, forecasts show that 26 billion of such devices will be connected to the internet by 2020. The goal is to connect everything to the internet and make them all have a certain degree of automation. But the question is, how secure are these connections especially when these devices will begin to handle data for our household appliances, cars, even our health information. And how susceptible are we of the threats? Hijacked robo-toilets have been all over the news. What other possible threats could we be facing with as this new technology is slowly being adopted across almost all sectors?
Some say that M2M connections can go unchecked and this may give way to a possible security breach. As the M2M automates sharing and gathering of data, it eliminates the burden of regular tedious methods of gathering data. It also eliminates inaccuracy. However, this autonomy can also bring disadvantages. Because most of these devices are left to function on their own, the lack of human intervention can give hackers more opportunity to penetrate the system. It can make the device a primary target for malicious intent. Most of these devices are made accessible through tablets and Smartphones. However, it is important to note that not everything is created equally. There are less sophisticated devices that may need more protection than the others. In IoT, processing is often dedicated entirely to performing operational tasks designed specifically for the application and without the use of hard drives. This limits the nature of M2M devices, which also means that the opportunity to embed security software is limited as well.
Although it is yet too early to say that M2M connections are unreliable, as we are still in the early days of adoption. However, several means of data safe-keeping and maintaining the integrity of these systems must be considered by providers, integrators and developers alike. And while they are still finding better means of securing M2M communication, some means may also be considered.
One is Antivirus Controls. Antivirus has always been the first line of defense. Although admittedly, this may not be enough, it should not be totally eradicated but enhanced. Messages sent via IP communications and M2M devices should be screened for potential viruses. There should also be identity controls present on these devices. Having identifiable devices helps reduce the threat. Having a clear cut standard security policy for M2M devices would also help. As we used to govern human to human network, M2M-enabled devices should have the same to govern them. And at a network level, protection and policies must be enabled as well, making sure that M2M devices have a single authorization port.
It is indeed an exciting time for everyone as M2M technology can change and reshape the way we live, work and interact, thus it is important to everyone to be every bit as vigilant in ensuring that every transaction or transmission done with these devices remain secure.