Internet of Things 04-07-2023

IoT Day: Celebrating the Power of Connected Devices

Mike Nelson
IoT Day Blog Hero Image

The Internet of Things (IoT) describes all of the physical devices that connect to the internet, also known as smart devices, that are revolutionizing the way we live, work and interact with the world around us. From smart homes to smart cities, IoT is enabling us to connect with our environment in ways that were once impossible. To celebrate the power of these connected devices, we have IoT Day.

While there is much to celebrate, there are many challenges that need to be overcome, such as security and privacy concerns, interoperability issues and the need for standards and regulations.

In this blog, we’ll discuss the impact of IoT devices and how we can manage these devices securely and seamlessly to ensure digital trust. 

The impact of IoT

By 2025, it is predicted that 75 billion devices will be online, and these devices make a huge impact on the way our world works. It is easier to understand by knowing the two types of IoT devices. Many devices fall under the CIoT (Consumer Internet of Things) category, such as thermostats, door locks, doorbells, voice assistants and alarm systems.

The second category is IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things), which refers to the use of IoT technologies, such as sensors, connectivity and data analytics, in industrial settings to improve efficiency, productivity and safety. IIoT has applications across various industries, including manufacturing, energy, transportation and healthcare, among others.

Some of the benefits of IoT devices include:

Increased efficiency

IoT devices can lead to a more efficient and streamlined operation. This increased efficiency can help save time, reduce costs and enable better decision making from getting better data. For instance, in the industrial sector, IoT devices can help monitor equipment and machines, detect issues early on and alert maintenance teams to fix problems, thereby reducing downtime.

Improved safety and security

By connecting various sensors and devices, IoT devices can help monitor and detect potential hazards in real-time, allowing for quicker responses to emergencies. For example, IoT devices can help monitor air quality, detect gas leaks and notify authorities in case of an emergency. In healthcare, as just one example, those with diabetes can better manage the disease with connected glucose monitors and insulin pumps. In addition, IoT devices can enhance security by providing real-time surveillance and monitoring of homes, offices and public spaces.

Sustainable development

By monitoring energy usage, water consumption and waste generation, IoT devices can help individuals and businesses reduce their environmental impact. Smart buildings, for example, can automatically adjust lighting and heating to optimize energy usage and reduce costs.

While the benefits are vast, the need for security in IoT devices is growing.

The challenges of IoT security

It is important to recognize that IoT devices are vulnerable to cyberattacks just like any other connected system. However, IoT devices often lack the same level of security features found on traditional computing devices. Many IoT devices have limited processing power and memory, which means that they may not be able to support robust security protocols, in addition to being designed to be low-cost and disposable. As such, they may not receive regular software updates or patches to address security vulnerabilities.

One of the most significant security concerns with IoT devices is the potential for unauthorized access. Hackers can exploit vulnerabilities in IoT devices to gain access to the device and then use that access to launch attacks on other devices or networks.

An example of this is when security firm Rapid7 researched popular baby monitors from six manufacturers and found that they all had security vulnerabilities, including unencrypted data and storage, making these devices at greater risk of being hacked. As if this wasn’t disturbing enough, many IoT devices such as home security devices and doorbell cameras utilize this same technology.

Learn why IoT security is so challenging:

The complex web of IoT security - Why is IoT security so challenging and what is the solution?

Ensure the identity and integrity of IoT devices with PKI

In order to meet digital trust needs, authentication, encryption, integrity and identity should be at the core of every IoT security standard.

  1. Because IoT devices connect to other things, it is essential to authenticate these connections.
  2. If the data is not protected, it’s useless. Encryption ensures confidentiality in which information is encoded end-to-end so intercepted data cannot be read.
  3. How can you know that the collected data can be trusted? Integrity.
  4. Identity allows you to track devices and introduce strong authentication processes, which is why IoT devices must have identity built into the device. How is this possible? Public Key Infrastructure (PKI).

In the United States, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been responsible for developing the minimum security protocol for U.S. devices since the Internet of Things (IoT) Cybersecurity Improvement Act was signed into law in December of 2020.

PKI and the use of digital certificates is a proven security approach that can address IoT security challenges and ensure digital trust by enabling:

  • mutual authentication
  • data encryption
  • confidentiality
  • access protection
  • secure boot
  • non-repudiation
  • device identity
  • data/firmware
  • update integrity
  • secure over the air (OTA) communications
  • multi-factor authentication (MFA)

Manage IoT devices with DigiCert® IoT Trust Manager

Want to keep it simple? IoT devices can be managed at scale with the DigiCert IoT Trust Manager, which tracks and identifies each device by its device identity and PKI certificate, helps to monitor those digital certificates and creates unique identifiers for secure encryption and data integrity.

DigiCert IoT Trust Manager embeds and manages device identity at scale, supporting a broad range of certificate types and enrollment methods, meeting the diverse security needs and form factors of the connected device market.

Matter makes seamless smart home connectivity possible

A new and exciting update to IoT is the interoperability security standard Matter. The Matter protocol is the first effort to provide a standard for secure, reliable interoperability for smart home devices, mobile apps and cloud services. This allows for your Apple smart home device to connect seamlessly and securely with your Google smart home device and Samsung with Amazon and so on. Prior to this recent development, there was a lack of protocol for how IoT devices interact with each other and to networks. Not only does a lack of protocol increase security risks, it also negatively impacts the consumer’s experience.

Matter was created by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), in partnership with world leaders in technology like Amazon, Apple, Google and Samsung. DigiCert works closely with the CSA and created the first Root Certificate Authority (CA), knows as a Product Attestation Authority (PAA) for Matter device attestation. This means manufacturers can earn the Matter seal on their products, proving that they offer improved interoperability between devices, increased security and enhanced consumer experience. These Matter-compliant devices are clearly labeled, similarly to how Bluetooth devices are labeled.

Learn more about Matter here.

There is a lot to celebrate when it comes to IoT, as the world quickly becomes more digitally enabled than ever before, but there are many security challenges to address. The security of IoT devices cannot be an afterthought, which requires the efforts of manufacturers, developers, consumers and governments to meet the necessary security requirements. It’s important that we keep the conversation around IoT security going as we work to build digital trust across every user and connected device.

The future of IoT is bright. Stay up-to-date with IoT news and announcements here.


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