Internet of Things – IoT Cybersecurity challenge. Now, it’s all child’s play.

Now that we are able to connect various physical devices ‘smartly’,  this additional capability is further fuelling the rate of technological change. As with any technological evolution, the benefits also carry with them some risks.  In this instance the cyber risks associated with the IoT are very real.  These take to form of hacking, eavesdropping, cybercrime through to the unauthorised controlling of physical devices. Welcome to the new world of the  Internet of Things – IoT cybersecurity .

Everyday physical devices, such as fridges, TVs, motor vehicles can now have miniature technologies embedded in them. These contain sensors that can collect and exchange data over networks, including the internet.

The proliferation of IoT enabled devices fosters further  digital innovation which in turn accelerates technology-led disruption across entire industries.

Are the IoT Cybersecurity risks overshadowed by the benefits?

As with any technological or product innovation, there is a bright side, and a dark side. Problem is, the bright side often blinds us to the hidden risk and challenges associated with the particular technology or innovation.

The recent hack of VTech’s Kid Connect service exposed close to 5 Million customer (parent) accounts and over 6 Million child profiles worldwide.

This service allows adults to use smartphones to chat with their children via a mobile device. In this hack, the parents and kids databases could be to data-matched to reveal the identification of a child’s full name and home address.

So what, I hear you say?  That’s an individual’s privacy issue. We’ve got a business to run.

The latest digital technologies often bring a significant positive benefit to business, society and individuals alike, which in turn increases our dependency on these technologies as their usefulness and value becomes the new norm.

Unfortunately, these new technologies also offer new and innovative vectors for innovative cyber criminals – be they individuals, syndicates or state sponsored. What are the IoT cybersecurity issues?

More importantly, the relevance of any technology-associated risks is often largely not well understood. This risk opacity is a direct result of a rapidly evolving technologies and environments not being static long enough to build up a reliable precedence history.  In addition, the applicability of any particular risks are dependent largely on the specific context in which the technologies are used – be they business or personal.

When it comes to adopting new technologies, the risks of being ‘left behind’ – or losing that competitive edge in your businesses – can often override the need for careful considerations of the ‘dark side’ associated with their use.

Put it simply. One person’s risk is another’s business opportunity. Question is, what’s yours? Are the IoT cybersecurity risks even considered?

Resistance is futile. IoT is everywhere as are the risks

As an individual, you may have the choice of not using any of the latest digital technologies.  Other than the declining number of tech-phobic individuals, we are all becoming increasingly reliant on technologies and Apps to manage our daily lives. The fact remains that the uptake of technological innovations are often spearheaded by consumer demand. Examples include Cloud based offerings (such as Facebook, SnapChat, and so on), mobile / tablet technologies, apps and much more.

However, as a business, the choice of whether to use any of the latest digital technologies or not, will most likely be made for you. It is only a question of when, not if.

Essentially, any business that hopes to remain relevant and viable in the long term needs to become ‘digital’ to varying degrees.  Depending on your specific business model and regulatory mandates, stonewalling or refusing to at least consider how, where and when to use appropriate digital technologies in your business is likely to, at best, limit your opportunities.

At at worst, it is likely to render you irrelevant in the face of adaptable and innovative competitors.  The bottom line is that resisting the opportunities that digital technologies have to offer, is not an option in the long term.

BUT, … and there is always an exception …. as a business, one of the very justifiable reasons for NOT aggressively forging ahead down the digitization path is the very real threat of cyber crime including corporate (or state sponsored) cyber espionage.

‘Dumb’ devices have got ‘Smart’ all of a sudden. IoT on the march

Under the umbrella term ‘the Internet of Things’ (or IoT), physical devices can now have miniature technologies embedded in them. These contain sensors that can collect and exchange data over networks, including the internet.  Additionally, the IoT fosters further  digital innovation which in turn accelerates technology-led disruption across entire industries.

For established organisations, the benefits associated with the proliferation of ‘smart devices’ may be more than offset by the risks. Organisations need to be fully aware of the uncontrolled adoption of internet or network attached ‘smart devices’.  In particular, the role that IT departments and CIOs play in the identification, use and control over any device that has embedded technologies is crucial.

Given the ease of access and use of ‘smart’ technologies in both our personal lives as well as within businesses, building in effective governance and security measures may be easier said than done.  Th

After all, all your IoT cybersecurity measures may be undone when your voice activated BoardRoom’s Smart TV allows eavesdropping on your most sensitive commercial discussions.

The bottom line is for any organisation serious about remaining successful and relevant is to treat IoT and related technologies with kid gloves.   Otherwise your game may be over without you realising it.