Taking the Fear Out of IoT Security Concerns

IOT_security

By Alexandre Araujo

The IoT presents a huge opportunity market. Every second, 127 new IoT devices are connected to the web, and experts predict that by 2025, that figure will equate to more than 75 billion connected devices overall. Unfortunately, this volume of connected devices brings inevitable security risks. With the passing of the IoT Cybersecurity Improvement Act toward the tail-end of 2020 and the latest executive order on improving the nation’s cybersecurity in May of this year, there has been an increasing emphasis on creating and systematically updating IoT security standards for government IoT devices, and in turn, private-sector enterprises.

Now more than ever, it is incredibly important that enterprises are employing IoT security that will hold up to new and changing IoT security guidelines. A 0G network can help enterprises ensure that their IoT devices and networks are secure, as well as how to limit the number of vulnerabilities and entry points for cybercriminals.

The Threat
Connected devices are everywhere now – and the increased adoption by public and private organizations has introduced a plethora of cybersecurity concerns and hacking opportunities.

We see frequent headlines about network hacks and data breaches these days – and many organizations focus on how they can precent becoming one of those unlucky companies. IoT devices can be compromised in a network hack via the network to which they are connected. Once a hacker has access to the network, they can gain control of the IoT device and control its operations. Other security threats include DDoS attacks in which an IoT network becomes overwhelmed by too many messages and shuts down, and most commonly, RF (radio frequency) jamming, in which a wireless IoT device, like an alarm system, is jammed, blocked or interfered with, limiting its ability to communicate with the network.

While these vulnerabilities are not going away, and data via the internet or cellular need to be transmitted, they are not the end of the world. To limit hacker access, organizations can begin by looking at collected data, and how often it should be collected. For highly regulated industries with truly sensitive data, security is of the upmost importance.

On the other hand, data on the temperature of a building, for example, may not be as critical or at risk of a hack, and thus requires less care and frequent updates. Limiting the frequency in which data is transmitted, e.g., once per day versus several times per hour, limits the opportunities for hackers to access the network.

There is a simpler solution for a more secure network: 0G.

The Solution: 0G
Narrowband 0G networks can be used by organizations that need protection, like government agencies and private organizations that deal with sensitive information alike, to relay data securely across the world. In addition, while 0G may sound like a big investment—and would have been in the past—costs have reduced substantially with providers using software-defined radio and modern compute power.

A 0G network is a dedicated, low-power wireless network that sends smaller, important messages from IoT devices to the internet. While the messages are smaller, the network is designed to be as intelligent as possible so that the device’s communication can be as simplistic as possible. The network does not rely on constant and synchronized two-way communication between the device and the receiver that IoT devices typically operate on. Instead, the IoT device wakes up and sends the data asynchronously to the 0G network, then returns back to sleep-mode. If the device has a receiver, that receiver is not consistently active and only listens for data based on pre-programmed parameters, eliminating the risk for an attempted hacker break-in.

A 0G network can also function well as a backup. It can act as a 24/7 alarm system for the primary network because it is not connected to the internet and is jamming resistant. If hacking or RF jamming has occurred and the primary network is compromised, devices connected to the 0G network can send distress signals to shut down the system to prevent further damage and to notify the primary network that jamming or hacking has occurred.

Organizations looking to take full advantage of the endless opportunities IoT technology provides can rest assured knowing there are simple ways to ensure their sensitive data is secure with 0G.

About the Author

Alexandre Araujo is the director of Americas Ecosystem at Sigfox.