10 IoT Security and Privacy Trends to Watch

The Internet of Things is a source of consistent upheaval for the technological and operational aspects of our societies. Wave upon wave of technological innovation has brought us to the point at which we currently find ourselves.

With so much change occurring within such a relatively short period of time, it is only natural for certain trends to emerge and fade out as they are well received and further developed or supplanted by superior solutions.

When it comes to technological innovation, especially within the IoT, privacy and security are two of the most relevant and exciting fields of development currently being discussed. Because of this there are a number of different trends emerging within both fields that are certainly worth keeping an eye on over the next few months and into the new year.

In this article, we’ll be looking at ten security and privacy trends within the Internet of Things that are becoming increasingly widespread in various industrial and commercial sectors around the world.

Some of the trends featured in this list will focus primarily on security aspects within the IoT, whereas others may be more concerned with the issues of privacy such technologies face.

So, let’s jump straight in.

Ten IoT Security and Privacy Trends

1)   Increased Focus on Privacy-by-Design

With a huge surge in the number of connected devices becoming available, both privacy and security will become an increasingly large factor in the design and development of these devices as customers become increasingly aware (likely through more and more public cyber-attacks) of the risks and vulnerabilities inherent in such technologies.

In order to combat such risks, software developers and hardware manufacturers are adopting a privacy-by-design framework, in which privacy is the key element in the design of a product or solution.

As ODM hardware builder, Lanner offers a number of hardware-enabled security features in its hardware for the customers to compliment software-based security mechanism. Lanner’s customized hardware as well as many of the standard hardware products offer cyber security boosting features such as, TPM 2.0, Intel QuickAssist, Secure Boot/Boot Guard, Security Validation Testing, IPMI and LAN Bypass.

2)   IoT Sensors Become Increasingly Targeted by Hackers

Sensors are one of the most popular IoT devices in use today and feature in the technological architectures of businesses and enterprises in a variety of different industries ranging from manufacturing and agriculture to distribution and critical infrastructure. Unfortunately, the vast numbers of sensors in a variety of different environments is exactly what makes them so vulnerable to hackers.

With so many different types of sensors being used within a vast number of different industries for a range of different applications, without adequate security, hackers could gain access to a range of data and information.

Hackers could potentially target sensors in a variety of different ways including sending different types of energy to specific sensors such as infrared signals to cameras or sending ultrasonic sounds to voice-control systems. Developers will need to devise ways in which to better protect their sensor systems against attacks of this type.

3)   Machine Learning Increasingly Used to Find and Fix Vulnerabilities

Machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies have more potential than almost anything else we’ve ever built when it comes to processing, interpreting and determining actionable insights from raw data, however, this technology is also being used as a way of determining where a system may be vulnerable to attack.

Whilst machine learning and AI technologies have featured in cyber-security set ups for a while now, this has mainly been focused on behavioral prediction and pattern recognition as opposed to detecting vulnerabilities to exploit.

Increasingly, machine learning is being used by hackers and cyber-attackers for a number of nefarious purposes including more advanced, data-utilizing phishing attacks as well as using stolen or degraded credentials to access systems or devices. As machine learning algorithms become increasingly powerful, we may soon see a time where cyber-security becomes a game of attack and defend between two or more machine learning algorithms

4)   Ransomware to Become Much More Prolific with the Rise of IoT Smart Tech

Traditionally, ransomware attacks would target IT systems and demand a ransom be paid before access to the afflicted systems would maybe be returned. Nowadays, however, cyber security experts are seeing a change in the way cyber-attackers are targeting their ransomware attacks as a direct result of the widespread adoption and integration of IoT smart tech.

Hackers are now theoretically able to lock you out of your smart car and demand you pay them a ransom before they unlock it due to the increasing amount of connectivity we see around us. How much more likely are you to pay a ransom if it is your smart home’s food cupboards that are being held hostage as opposed to your laptop?

5)   The Evolution and Potential Expansion of an Individual’s Digital and Data Rights

The emergence of the Internet of Things, Big Data, and the rising levels of connectivity we experience in our day to day lives has also brought about changes to the rights and freedoms we as individuals have access to. New rules and regulations have also been put into place to account for technological changes over the past decade or so such as the EU’s new GDPR regulations.

Further expansion of these digital and data-focussed rights is not only possible, but also incredibly likely as we consider the consequences of the technological apparatus we find ourselves surrounded by. Children are born today whose lives could potentially be profiled from the moment of birth through the data they and their families generate. In this sense, it is likely data privacy rights will continue to be a hot topic for years to come.

6)   Increased Use of Blockchain Security

Another emerging technology to have gathered a significant amount of excitement over the past few years is blockchain and, specifically, its applications within a security apparatus. Blockchain technologies currently work as the immutable ledgers behind cryptocurrency transactions and it is hoped that within the next few years, workable applications within other fields will begin to be adopted.

As more and more time and money is invested into blockchain security solutions, we will likely begin to see IoT-focused blockchain security that aims to bridge the gap between low-power, connected technologies and advanced security systems.

This goal could still be some way a way as of yet, however, the foundational technologies that could one day make it a reality are most certainly present today.

7)   Continued Increase in the Use of Big Data

The expansion of the Internet of Things and smart connected devices has been the catalyst for an enormous increase in the amount of data we produce every day. With more and more technologies able to generate, collect, interpret and store the data we produce, it seems only natural that business and organisations will want to capitalise on this data generation to improve their own businesses.

Capturing, processing and analyzing customer data has become one of the key ways in which businesses and enterprises refine and target their marketing and advertising efforts as well as a vast number of other industrial or commercial operational elements.

It will be interesting to see how the ongoing privacy debate affects the use of customer data by companies with integrated technologies featured within their services for specifically that reason.

GDPR regulations that force businesses to get consent from their customers don’t seem to have had too much of an impact in reducing data collection, so it seems only time will tell.

8)   People Becoming Increasingly Cautious About Sharing Their Data

The increasing use of customer data by businesses and enterprises will almost certainly not go unnoticed by consumers. People already have mixed feelings about seeing items they may have recently searched mysteriously being recommended to them by social media sites and the like and companies will need to tread carefully so as not to put people off completely.

And the statistics don’t look good either, with more and more people having first-hand experience of a data breach. For example, 50 millions profiles had their data compromised in the latest breach of Facebook.

One likely symptom of this will be that people become much more cautious about sharing their data with the institutions and enterprises they do business with. Allowing third parties to access this data may very well see customers opt for other brands so as to avoid giving over any more of their data than they have to.

9)   Increased Use of Enhanced Authentication and Access Management Systems

The number of devices storing and/or processing sensitive personal data or confidential corporate information is significantly greater than it was just five years ago. For this reason, enhanced methods of access management and authentication are being deployed so as to reduce the risk of having these systems and devices compromised.

Biometrics, multi-factor authentication services and various other methods of ensuring security are becoming increasingly popular as the expansion of the IoT and connected systems and devices continues. Eventually, it seems likely that such steps will become a necessary part of securing systems as passwords and other legacy methods become obsolete.

10)   IoT Security and Privacy Regulations and Compliance

As previously mentioned above, privacy and security regulations such as the recent GDPR regulations have, in part, been brought about due to the significant increase in the use of IoT and smart connected devices.

The ability to share and distribute data across sensor networks or other connected systems means that these technologies are inherently more vulnerable to attacks and, therefore, regulations for their safe use are sensible.

With IoT technologies showing no signs of slowing their widespread adoption, we may begin to see IoT technologies developed to keep other IoT technologies compliant with regulations involving privacy and security. AI technologies, for example, are currently being experimented with in regards to their application in compliance.

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