Testing fundamental to Embedded Security for Internet of Things (IoT) Market

Published On : 2017-05-10

Creating a fool proof testing process across all product elements is essential for IoT security

Testing is the only way to ensure that organisations relying on IoT devices remain protected, but testing cannot be restricted to Internet-enabled devices alone. The most important point to consider with regards to the Embedded Security for Internet of Things (IoT) Market is to not obsess on the embedded technology hardware. This is usually the trap that testers, customers, companies and researchers fall into according to experts. It is essential to take into account the whole product ecosystem and all components of the IoT have to be thought of – not just hardware – when a company executive is contemplating the overall product risk and security model.

The elements comprise radio frequency communications, network communications, mobile apps, cloud APIs, command and control applications and cloud services seen in the cloud and mobile-based parts of an IoT-enabled system. It is not unheard of to identify issues in any of the elements that consist of an IoT system, but the severity level is rarely, if ever, the same. Device manufacturers are typical organisations to have security testing apparatus in place to evaluate products and services before they enter the Embedded Security for Internet of Things (IoT) Market as this can lessen the risk by a substantial amount. Manufacturers also need to guarantee that effective software updating processes and patching is in place so that problems can be nipped in the bud.

It is impossible to completely eliminate vulnerabilities but they can be tackled by putting an effective patching process in place. Not only does this reduce the risk for consumers but also organisations, leading to increased manufacturer demand. Before an organisation commits itself to a specific product or service, it should seek proof that the product has been exhaustively tested to make sure that there is no unnecessary risk exposure. Larger organisations, in particular, should have a fool proof testing process and a number of them have begun taking it seriously.

Several organisations are testing IoT systems and one example is a GPS tracking device that was designed to help parents find their missing children. The product tied into the cloud API had a lot of security vulnerabilities and it meant that hackers could gain access to all the GPS tracking data from the device in question, any phone numbers stored on it, contact information and even the device international mobile equipment identity (IMEI) number. Anyone with a system account could access different accounts or alter devices remotely as a result of the poor communications security by way of APIs from the device to the connected web interface.

Although smaller organisations are not likely to have the required expertise to conduct security tests, simply being aware of the potential security risks linked to all the constituents of an IoT system can assist them in the implementation of IoT systems in a far more secure manner. By looking at all the ecosystem pieces, smaller organisations can seek out appropriate methods of risk mitigation of a specific environment by way of best practices and ensure that required procedures and policies are followed. To develop an effective testing process, companies need to understand an IoT ecosystem structure beforehand, learn typical IoT system testing methodologies, and be familiar with the most common issues afflicting IoT systems.

With regards to IoT, the volume of data involved is much larger than before. The IoT market is predicted to grow by leaps and bounds in the days ahead and the technology can be safely expected to be found in every aspect of life in the near future. That is why effective patching processes are the best and fastest way to overcome many of the IoT system issues, especially when systems are already in place. Most vulnerabilities have been seen to follow similar patterns and they are issues that could have been resolved if they were detected in the early stages. An effective testing process would go a long way in eliminating resolvable, common security risks, allowing researchers to focus on seeking out hard-to-find, complex and less-obvious risks. Finally, companies need to make sure that an effective scanning system is installed to find any unauthorised or rogue IoT devices that could be connected to the company infrastructure and pose a security risk.