IoT has potential to innovate, but is it secure?

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While the Internet of Things has the potential to drive the next wave of online innovation, it needs to be grounded on secure networks that prevent cyber criminals from hacking into the myriad of IoT-enabled devices that they are increasingly connecting, according to NTT Communications.

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IoT can enhance daily life, but it needs to be secure

“The Internet of Things revolution has tremendous potential to enhance and improve daily life by enabling our devices to connect and communicate with our other devices,” said Michael Wheeler, executive vice president of NTT Communications Global IP Network at NTT America. “The key to facilitating the IoT is creating a network foundation that enables these applications and services to function in a safe and secure manner.”

According to results of the NTT Security 2018 Global Threat Intelligence Report, a survey of about 1,350 companies showed that nearly 60 percent of respondents see IoT as a potential security threat to their organizations. Gartner, a research and advisory company, recently found that nearly 20 percent of organizations observed at least one IoT-based attack in the last three years. Gartner also predicts that by 2020, IoT will play a part in more than 25 percent of cyberattacks.

“IoT continues to gain momentum and, in response to that, businesses need to proactively protect against IoT-related cyberattacks,” added Wheeler. “Because of the growing universe of connected devices, software and carriers in the IoT ecosystem, there’s also a need for increased industry collaboration to ensure a seamless and secure IoT experience for everyone.”

Insights from recent memcached-driven DDoS attacks and incidents involving Mirai-infected IoT botnets show that industry cooperation plays a key role in keeping networks and users safe. “I think carriers feel the responsibility to collaborate and communicate as much as possible and do so in the context of our roles within the broader Internet,” Wheeler concluded on this issue.

Customization as best defense against cyberattacks

The first half of 2018 has seen a wider and more varied range of cyberattacks focused on denial of service, route hijacking and crypto currency theft. As a result, organizations are seeking customized security plans that align with their specific risk profile.

“When it comes to network security, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution,” said Wheeler. “It really comes down to assessing each business area that needs protection and, along the way, implementing iterative enhancements that provide the comprehensive security solutions that are required. To achieve this, global network operators are increasingly working with each customer’s internal IT teams, third-party vendors and industry groups to ensure that solutions are as customized as possible for each client.”

Having contingency plans in place can also help to mitigate the impact of any breaches that may occur.

“From a network security perspective, every company has to establish what they believe their risk profile is based on a number of factors, and then ultimately identify what they’re going to do to address the risk profile that has been defined,” Wheeler added.