IoT Security: What Change Does Your Approach Require?

We were focused only on security at the levels of exposition, but now we should condense our approach to the operating system level


Internet of Things, intuitively seems like a terminology to mean interconnected software dependent appliances. But it is not just that. It also encompasses the architectural rules to be followed in order to make them work with mutual congruence. It is a topic which will be in top trends in coming years since it can significantly alter the lifestyles of people depending on it.

From kitchen to the parking lot, office spaces to toilets - every section of urban life culture will come under the IoT veneer. It is because of its inherent scope to network across internet devices which can connect, regulate and automate the processes.

When data gets distributed with rapid advancements in technology, it consequently faces the threat of information exchange getting vulnerable to security threats. Due to extensive commercial scope IoT offers, the data security occupies the utmost priority for architects working on it. The security threats are not limited to the personal privacy issues and malicious content distribution, but will also majorly include the financial transactions occurring on dedicated secure streams.

What is the Challenge?

Although addressing the IoT security issues is merely a software obligation, the way it was initially incepted and developed did not consider the possibility that in future it might involve high-quality confidential data. The devices developed were modeled to handle smaller tasks that cannot affect the entire system even if there is a security breach. But after they wielded their influence to fetch the personal (yet anonymous) data, IoT devices call for the re-engineering of the thus posed device constraints.

The major issue is the dependency of IoT on human intervention. The advancements IoT have extended to major and classified sectors like Enterprise automation in Robotics, Software infrastructure in nuclear powerhouses requires the data to be maintained at the highest level of security. But the paradox is, whenever an IoT device needs a software update, it cannot be acheived without exposing their software systems to external or concerned modules who are not authorized to have access to it.

Reverse your approach to System Security!

The dominant perception of most of the security models is that of addressing the gaps where the vulnerability is high. Often, we ignore the comprehensive perspective of device life-cycle by assuming that other modules are not vulnerable. This has to be countered by shifting the approach to multi-layered security which will confront the security needs with hierarchical priorities.

The security breaches can be up-scaled by following the principle of minimum privileges. According to it, the concerned authority will be provided with the minimum access to perform an action. The operating systems should have built-in role-based access controls which will have restricted privileges accordingly. If a device component needs certain privileges to perform an action, it will have only those privileges and no more accessions other than that. It is a reverse approach to the system security opposed to conventional 'emergent' security protocols. Traditionally, it was open and otherwise secured, but now every module will be concealed unless you have the required access.

It is an obsolete approach to consider security as an optional feature a business system should possess. Time is rife to take it seriously than in past by giving due diligence and considering it as an integral part of the device ecosystem. Initially, we were focused only on security at the levels of exposition, but now we should condense our approach to the operating system level. This will also eliminate the possible burden on developers and device designers to think of data vulnerability at every stage and saves the time being spent on it. It will usher in a broadened innovation potential of the IoT technology and allows us to explore its unprecedented heights.


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