The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of IoT

07/09/2021

The Internet of Things (IoT) is not the next big thing. It’s already arrived. It is estimated that there will be more than 75 billion IoT connected devices in use by 2025, a nearly threefold increase from 2019 figures. 

As time passes, the impact of IoT on daily living will increase beyond imagination. So it begs the question: is it really all it’s cracked up to be? Are there any downsides to this growing mammoth?

What Makes Up the IoT?

The IoT is any device or piece of hardware that connects to the internet. You can often identify an IoT device because it is prefaced by the word “smart.” Things like smartphones, smartwatches, smart home appliances, smart pacemakers, and smart cars are all IoT devices. A smart home, for instance, is made up of several appliances and systems that are connected to the internet, including security systems, light bulbs, and thermostats. 

The IoT industry is growing fast, and there are more and more devices and apps coming to market that make life more convenient and place more control in our hands.

Forgot to feed the dog? Not if you have a smart pet feeding system. Don’t love housework but still want a clean home? Good thing we have robotic vacuums that can take care of cleaning your floors. Automating these activities with IoT devices can save hours every week and free consumers from repetitive tasks.

But watch out for the downside. Being connected to the internet 24/7 comes with certain risks too.

Smart, but Still Hackable

Unfortunately, any device that operates digitally is at risk of hacking and data theft. This means that, if malicious actors are able to infiltrate the security systems of your smart devices, they could gain access

During the pandemic, there were over 4,000 cyberattacks every day. If large companies with excellent cybersecurity defenses—like T-Mobile and Colonial Pipeline —fell victim to ransomware attacks, the next step for cybercriminals could be to use IoT devices as a new channel to infiltrate networks. 

Personal IoT devices are particularly vulnerable, because of their portable nature and their ability to connect to public wifi networks. As consumers go about their day, smart devices go along with them and essentially become an exposed wallet hanging out of their pockets. With all the sensitive information stored in our phones, smartwatches, GPS devices, and wearables, hackers can easily target individuals and gain access to their sensitive information.

You Can Train To Protect Our Digital World

The growth of the IoT devices market is causing a surge in demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals. Whether you come from a tech background or not, CSULB offers a Cybersecurity Professional Certificate Program that will help you build the foundational skills you need to succeed in the skyrocketing field of cybersecurity.

Here is how it works: you’ll attend live, online classes led by cybersecurity experts, two sessions on weeknights and one on Saturdays. The whole program is a total of 400 hours of in-depth cybersecurity instruction and takes about 10-11 months to finish, depending on holidays.

You will learn from industry-leading, cybersecurity professionals who bring their experience directly into the classroom while you practice new skills through practical simulations and cyber labs that mimic real-world cybersecurity scenarios. Plus, the CSULB Cybersecurity Professional Certificate Program includes a dedicated career services department that can guide you along your cybersecurity journey. 

To learn more, download the course catalog.

cybersecurity certificate program course catalog download

Without Internet Connection, There Is No IoT

Another vulnerability is that it is wholly dependent on an internet connection. In case of a power outage, server issues, or other connectivity problems, the IoT device simply won’t work. If it just means you can’t surf the internet for an hour, that’s one thing. If it means your home security system is down while you are asleep, or your smart pet feeder stops feeding the dog while you are on vacation, then the problem is far worse.

IoT Technology Solutions for Enterprises

Technology is developing at a rapid pace, especially in the world of connected devices. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the rate of adoption for a wide range of digital solutions, and analysts believe that it will lead to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for IoT spending of 26.7% between 2022 and 2025. 

With more smart devices, businesses of all sizes are able to control production times, survey remote agricultural terrains, diagnose malfunctions, track fleet movements, and monitor the security of storage facilities with much greater ease than ever before.

Cybersecurity for IoT Devices

Human error is often the biggest source of cybersecurity risk, and the world of smart devices is subject to that risk as well. On a personal level, consumers often do not understand the implications of enabling data sharing and other functionalities on their wearables and smartphones, creating easy access points for hackers to steal their information.

On a larger scale, sometimes new IoT devices are created and programmed so quickly that their software often lacks proper, basic cybersecurity and compliance requirements. While updates and patches can often fix these types of issues, end users don’t always comply with all software updates, leaving their devices vulnerable to cyberattacks.

For more tips on how to protect your smart devices, here’s a handy and easy-to-share infographic guide:

Cybersecurity Awareness Month, be cyber smart

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