It is said that by the year 2020, there will be more than 20 billion devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT). If that is true, it comes out to be about 2.5 devices for every single person on the planet. Amidst this surge in users, an opportunity awaits India which already suffers from congestion in may urban areas. IoT can empower the smart cities project and help local authorities to effectively manage traffic and reduce noise and air pollution.
Security risks in IoT
- There is a threat of of an IoT being hacked which will have potentially devastating results. Imagine the physical damage a hacking could inflict upon to self-driving cars. Hence, security should be the fundamental pillar of any IoT network.
- There is a significant risk in testing IoT infrastructure as it is currently being implemented in a fairly agile way, with devices and sensors being introduced on an ad-hoc basis and experimentation being undertaken at successive stages. It is different from the past where the new technology was only launched after testing the entire mechanism. IoT is not testing the infrastructure at all rather it is being fine tuned to a ‘live’ setting.
- Privacy issues need to be addressed in such a manner so as to establish trust between the consumers and the manufacturer or service provider. Consumers have a right to be informed about the data generated by them and its management. Fragmented data collected from multiple end points makes it impossible to remain anonymous and yields sensitive information about the consumer. Customers should therefore be mindful of the data permissions that they grant while signing up for any new device or programme.
- Social engineering by observing human behaviour has become a new major risk in IoT environment especially after the recent Cambridge Analytica episode. As much as the infrastructure needs protection, people also needs to be educated about the challenges generated by the algorithms which may sometime respond back with incorrect information.
Safety standards and regulatory controls have evolved in the past few decades and if we implement the IoT security tools and standards at the same level as that of the airline industry in respect of safety, the technology will impart trust and drive creation of new businesses and industries. It is important to fully utilise the potential benefits of IoT in the government programmes such as ‘Digital India’ and ‘Smart Cities’ so as to establish security standards and regulatory control for the private sector and foreign players.
Adequate measures to secure the IoT ecosystem and preparation of concerned organisations including governmental organisation will help India realise the true and full potential of IoT by mitigating the risks associated with governance, security and privacy risks.
Source – The Hindu Business Line
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