Business Insider Intelligence
The Internet of Things is connecting more devices every day, and we’re headed for a world that will have 64 billion IoT devices by 2025.
This growth carries several benefits, as it will change the way people carry out everyday tasks and potentially transform the world. Having a smart home is undoubtedly cool and will draw oohs and aahs from your guests, but smart lighting can actually reduce overall energy consumption and lower your electric bill.
New developments would allow connected cars to link up with smart city infrastructure to create an entirely different ecosystem for the driver, who is simply used to the traditional way of getting from Point A to Point B.
And connected healthcare devices give people a deeper and fuller look at their own health, or lack thereof, than ever before.
But with all of these benefits comes risk, as the increase in connected devices gives hackers and cyber criminals more entry points.
Late last year, a group of hackers took down a power grid in a region of western Ukraine to cause the first blackout from a cyber attack. And this is likely just the beginning, as these hackers are looking for more ways to strike critical infrastructure, such as power grids, hydroelectric dams, chemical plants, and more.
And aside from these security issues, the average consumer is concerned about his or her privacy. After all, if so much of the consumer’s life is connected, then what is off limits?
Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the biggest IoT security and privacy issues as we head toward this truly connected world.
IoT Security Issues
- Public Perception: If the IoT is ever going to truly take off, this needs to be the first problem that manufacturers address. The 2015 Icontrol State of the Smart Home study found that 44% of all Americans were “very concerned” about the possibility of their information getting stolen from their smart home, and 27% were “somewhat concerned.” With that level of worry, consumers would hesitate to purchase connected devices.
- Vulnerability to Hacking: Researchers have been able to hack into real, on-the-market devices with enough time and energy, which means hackers would likely be able to replicate their efforts. For example, a team of researchers at Microsoft and the University of Michigan found a plethora of holes in the security of Samsung’s SmartThings smart home platform, and the methods were far from complex.
- Are Companies Ready?: AT&T’s Cybersecurity Insights Report surveyed more than 5,000 enterprises around the world and found that 85% of enterprises are in the process of or intend to deploy IoT devices. Yet a mere 10% of those surveyed feel confident that they could secure those devices against hackers.
- True Security: Jason Porter, AT&T’s VP of security solutions, told Insider Intelligence that securing IoT devices means more than simply securing the actual devices themselves. Companies also need to build security into software applications and network connections that link to those devices.
IoT Privacy Issues
- Too Much Data: The sheer amount of data that IoT devices can generate is staggering. A Federal Trade Commission report entitled “Internet of Things: Privacy & Security in a Connected World” found that fewer than 10,000 households can generate 150 million discrete data points every day. This creates more entry points for hackers and leaves sensitive information vulnerable.
- Unwanted Public Profile: You’ve undoubtedly agreed to terms of service at some point, but have you ever actually read through an entire document? The aforementioned FTC report found that companies could use collected data that consumers willingly offer to make employment decisions. For example, an insurance company might gather information from you about your driving habits through a connected car when calculating your insurance rate. The same could occur for health or life insurance thanks to fitness trackers.
- Eavesdropping: Manufacturers or hackers could actually use a connected device to virtually invade a person’s home. German researchers accomplished this by intercepting unencrypted data from a smart meter device to determine what television show someone was watching at that moment.
- Consumer Confidence: Each of these problems could put a dent in consumers’ desire to purchase connected products, which would prevent the IoT from fulfilling its true potential.
These are just a handful of the issues the IoT must solve in order to reach mass adoption. Insider Intelligence is keeping its finger on the pulse of this ongoing revolution by conducting our third annual Global IoT Executive Survey, which provides us with critical insights on the most pivotal new developments within the IoT and explains how top-level perspectives are changing year to year. Our survey includes nearly 400 responses from key executives around the world, including C-suite and director-level respondents.
Through this exclusive study and in-depth research into the field, Insider Intelligence details the components that make up the IoT ecosystem. We size the IoT market and use exclusive data to identify key trends in the connected devices sector. And we profile the enterprise, governmental, and consumer IoT segments individually, drilling down into the drivers and characteristics that are shaping each market.
Here are some key takeaways from the report:
- We project that there will be more than 64 billion IoT devices by 2025, up from about 10 billion in 2018.
- Blockchain within the IoT is still generally the provenance of startups, and they’re populating the marketplace with products that take advantage of the technology’s characteristics. It’s not going to upend the IoT, despite the technology’s much-ballyhooed potential. And respondents to our survey of IoT providers seem, for the most part, to understand this. Just a small percentage think that blockchain will become a universal standard in the IoT. The vast majority said that blockchain will either be a tool that most companies employ at times, or a niche product that only certain solutions use.
- Lightning-fast 5G networks will change how telecommunications shapes business and will also offer new and transformative possibilities in the IoT space. The new standard will further increase the appeal of cellular solutions in the areas where it’s available. And that’s why nearly half of IoT providers said they’re planning to introduce support for 5G networks to their solutions within the next two years.
- The report highlights the opinions and experiences of IoT decision-makers on topics that include: drivers for adoption; major challenges and pain points; deployment and maturity of IoT implementations; investment in and utilization of devices; the decision-making process; and forward- looking plans.
In full, the report:
- Provides a primer on the basics of the IoT ecosystem.
- Offers forecasts for the IoT moving forward, and highlights areas of interest in the coming years.
- Looks at who is and is not adopting the IoT, and why.
- Highlights drivers and challenges facing companies that are implementing IoT solutions.
Interested in getting the full report? Here’s how to get access: