Internet of Things (IoT) security breaches have been dominating the headlines lately. WikiLeaks’s trove of CIA documents revealed that internet-connected televisions can be used to secretly record conversations. Trump’s advisor Kellyanne Conway believes that microwave ovens can spy on you—maybe she was referring to microwave cameras which indeed can be used for surveillance. And don’t delude yourself that you are immune to IoT attacks, with 96% of security professionals responding to a new survey expecting an increase in IoT breaches this year.
Even if you personally don’t suffer the consequences of the sub-par security of the IoT, your connected gadgets may well be unwittingly cooperating with criminals. Last October, Internet service provider Dyn came under an attack that disrupted access to popular websites. The cybercriminals who initiated the attack managed to commandeer a large number of internet-connected devices (mostly DVRs and cameras) to serve as their helpers. As a result, cybersecurity expert Bruce Schneier has called for government regulation of the IoT, concluding that both IoT manufacturers and their customers don’t care about the security of the 8.4 billion internet-connected devices in current use.
Whether because of government regulation or good old-fashioned self-interest, we can expect increased investment in IoT security technologies. In its recently-released TechRadar report for security and risk professionals, Forrester Research discusses the outlook for the 13 most relevant and important IoT security technologies, warning that “there is no single, magic security bullet that can easily fix all IoT security issues.”
Based on Forrester’s analysis, here’s my list of the 6 hottest technologies for IoT security:
1. IoT network security: Protecting and securing the network connecting IoT devices to back-end systems on the internet. IoT network security is a bit more challenging than traditional network security because there is a wider range of communication protocols, standards, and device capabilities, all of which pose signiﬁcant issues and increased complexity. Key capabilities include traditional endpoint security features such as antivirus and antimalware as well as other features such as firewalls and intrusion prevention and detection systems. Sample vendors: Bayshore Networks, Cisco, Darktrace, and Senrio.
2. IoT authentication: Providing the ability for users to authenticate an IoT device, including managing multiple users of a single device (such as a connected car), ranging from simple static password/pins to more robust authentication mechanisms such as two-factor authentication, digital certificates and biometrics. Unlike most enterprise networks where the authentication processes involve a human being entering a credential, many IoT authentication scenarios (such as embedded sensors) are machine-to-machine based without any human intervention. Sample vendors: Baimos Technologies, Covisint, Device Authority, Entrust Datacard, and Gemalto.
3. IoT encryption: Encrypting data at rest and in transit between IoT edge devices and back-end systems using standard cryptographic algorithms, helping maintain data integrity and preventing data sniffing by hackers. The wide range of IoT devices and hardware profiles limits the ability to have standard encryption processes and protocols. Moreover, all IoT encryption must be accompanied by equivalent full encryption key lifecycle management processes, since poor key management will reduce overall security. Sample vendors: Cisco, Entrust Datacard, Gemalto, HPE, Lynx Software Technologies, and Symantec.
4. IoT PKI: Providing complete X.509 digital certiﬁcate and cryptographic key and life-cycle capabilities, including public/private key generation, distribution, management, and revocation. The hardware specs for some IoT devices may limit or prevent their ability to utilize PKI. Digital certiﬁcates can be securely loaded onto IoT devices at the time of manufacture and then activated/enabled by third-party PKI software suites; the certiﬁcates could also be installed post-manufacture. Sample vendors: DigiCert, Entrust Datacard, Gemalto, HPE, Symantec, and WISeKey.
5. IoT security analytics: Collecting, aggregating, monitoring, and normalizing data from IoT devices and providing actionable reporting and alerting on speciﬁc activities or when activities fall outside established policies. These solutions are starting to add sophisticated machine learning, artiﬁcial intelligence, and big data techniques to provide more predictive modeling and anomaly detection (and reduce the number of false positives), but these capabilities are still emerging. IoT security analytics will increasingly be required to detect IoT-speciﬁc attacks and intrusions that are not identiﬁed by traditional network security solutions such as ﬁrewalls. Sample vendors: Cisco, Indegy, Kaspersky Lab, SAP, and Senrio. (See also my post regarding Aperio Systems)
6. IoT API security: Providing the ability to authenticate and authorize data movement between IoT devices, back-end systems, and applications using documented REST-based APIs. API security will be essential for protecting the integrity of data transiting between edge devices and back-end systems to ensure that only authorized devices, developers, and apps are communicating with APIs as well as detecting potential threats and attacks against speciﬁc APIs. Sample vendors: Akana, Apigee/Google, Axway, CA Technologies, Mashery/TIBCO, MuleSoft, and WS02.
Note that Forrester did not identify any technologies in the “creation” stage. It says: “The continued evolution of IoT-specific security threats will undoubtedly drive innovation in this space, so expect more new IoT-specific security technologies to appear in the creation phase in the near future, many of which may align around vertical- and industry-specific use cases such as connected medical devices or industrial applications.”
Forrester lists the following challenges to achieving a secure IoT: Many IoT devices lack basic security requirements; There is a plethora of IoT standards and protocols, which creates security blind spots; The scale and scope of IoT deployments hinder visibility into security incidents; There is a lack of clarity of responsibility regarding privacy and security.