What is IoT security?
IoT security refers to the set of measures taken to secure IoT devices and the networks they are connected to. With ubiquitous connectivity come new risks. Once a nice-to-have feature, IoT security has become a foundational element in today’s connected applications.
Because they are exposed to the broader internet, IoT device developers must constantly be mindful of the following principles:
- Attacks always cause harm, including immediate costs, damage, and consequential costs.
- Any exposed interfaces in applications can be used as attack surfaces.
Safeguarding IoT devices, protecting data, and ensuring data transmission security has become paramount to building a sustainable business against growing IoT security threats. With robust end-to-end security measures in place, business can protect their revenues and, by protecting devices and sensitive data, mitigate costs associated with operational and reputational damage.
IoT security challenges
IoT devices are continually exposed to all manner of constantly evolving IoT security threats. The most common categories include:
- Data theft: If IoT hackers gain access to vulnerable devices, they can steal sensitive and potentially confidential data and sell it to interested parties online.
- Device manipulation: Business-enabling IoT devices such as smart meters with firmware manipulated to modify system behavior can, for example, under-report consumption.
- Denial-of-service (DOS) attacks: Large numbers of IoT devices can be recruited into so-called botnets to carry out coordinated attacks, for example, to shut down websites.
- Unauthorized access: If poorly secured, connected surveillance cameras, door locks, and IoT devices featuring microphones and other sensors can be hijacked.
- Ransomware attacks: IoT devices with security vulnerabilities can be locked to disrupt business until a ransom is paid.
- Sensor spoofing: IoT devices can be fed false information, causing them to malfunction. Sensor spoofing can involve anything from sophisticated RF signal interference to simple cardboard cutouts to fool cameras.
The five facets of IoT security
The five pillars of IoT security
Integrating the u-blox five pillars of security, our solutions, products, and services will help you protect your and your customers’ business in today’s connected world.
1. Secure boot
Secure boot ensures that any firmware running on an IoT device is authentic and has not been modified. Devices featuring secure boot will only boot and run trusted software issued by the original device manufacturer.
2. Secure firmware updates (FOTA)
Fielded IoT typically require regular upgrades to add new feature and apply security patches against emerging vulnerabilities. Secure firmware updates ensures that only authenticated and validated updates can be carried out on the device.
3. Secure APIs and physical interfaces
With secure APIs and physical interfaces, debug access to devices is limited to authorized users and API use is subject to authentication. Data authenticity and integrity are protected into and out of the device.
4. Secure transport layer
Transport layer security offers standards-based cryptographic protocols for authentication and signed or encrypted communications with the server, protecting data in transit to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks in device-to-server communication.
5. Robustness against jamming and spoofing
IoT devices are vulnerable to deliberate RF interference. Advanced GNSS satellite signals, RF-signal processing, embedded software development, and data encryption make it possible to detect potential attacks on air interfaces and increase the robustness against GPS jamming and spoofing.
IoT security use cases