Recently, cyber -attacks and security hacks dictate that engineers take the security of the Internet of Things (IoT) more seriously. Several practices guide you in the safeguard of your systems.
Why should you secure the IoT?
On the surface, IoT devices require advanced PCBs are just that, devices. Today, a hacker can use the simplest gadget to attack your system. The programmers are malicious and plant malware on devices with no security, adding them to huge botnets. The botnets perform DDoS or Distribute denial-of-service attacks, which are capable of toppling web services.
A hacker just needs a simple device that has internet access. The botnet is full of IoT devices that have little or no security. For instance, the Mirai botnet toppled DNS in 2016. It used thousands of web-connected DVRs and cameras. Employ safety measures to prevent your design from falling into a hacker’s hands.
Hard Code Passwords are the worst
As a designer, you must have used a hard code password before. It all depends on your software build up. Most often than not, keeping the password in the read-only memory is the obvious option, and very risky. In industrial IoT, most SCADA (Supervisory Control and data acquisition) systems consist of hardcode passwords. These systems are in control of crucial infrastructure like power plants. As a designer, make sure you allow the user access to changing the password. Hackers may gain access to millions of devices produced en masse, just for the simple reason, they have access to a single password.
You may test a device thoroughly and cover every imaginable base, but there is always a vulnerable point discovered out there. If there is no way you can patch, change device code over the cloud, or make patches accessible to the user, your design is a near failure.
Today, as things stand, there is no financial reward for building a patchable design. In the near future, it might be worth your while to create patchable designs.
Until recently, most IoT devices’ design was such that they have a direct connection to the internet, or to the user’s phone or PC. This method is no longer sustainable for various reasons such as advancement, higher processing and of course, security.
While considering cybersecurity, we have to think about the attack mode. In a huge low power and wide- surface network, there are millions of sensors and devices all with direct access to the internet. This creates a huge ‘attack surface.’ A hacker only needs one device to get into the network. An IoT gateway is one way of taking care of security and preventing an attacker from gaining access to a large network.
The gateway is a communication portal for an IoT system. These connect to the devices by using protocols such as Bluetooth. The gateway acts as a router for all the information and if a hacker got in, they would only have access to a small number of devices.
The Internet of things is the future and a great tool for everyone, albeit a dangerous tool in the wrong hands. As a designer, you have a duty to stop the hackers by letting the user control the password change, making your design patchable and installing IoT gateways.