As the Internet of Things (IoT) turns into a trillion dollar opportunity, cyber security firm Websense has said that cyber criminals will soon start exploring ways to exploit the technology.
IoT is a network of devices that communicate among themselves using IP connectivity without human interference. This ecosystem includes intelligent systems, network equipment, connectivity services and data integration.
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"IoT is a huge business opportunity for companies, but it also presents an imminent danger from cyber criminals, who will soon start to look at ways to exploit it," Websense Regional Director (India and SAARC) Surendra Singh told PTI.
Though so far instances of attack on IoT networks have not come out, there have been a few instances where the cyber criminals have tried to attack some connected medical devices, he added.
"IoT is a growing market and with the number of connected devices, cyber criminals will start looking at ways to intrude the networks and exploit them," Singh said.
The number of Internet-connected devices (12.5 billion) have surpassed the population globally (about 7 billion) in 2011 and by 2020 these devices are expected to number in the range of 26-50 billion globally.
According to research firm IDC, explosive growth in cloud and number of Internet-connected devices is expected to propel the IoT market globally to USD 3.04 trillion by 2020.
Websense also released its 2015 Threat Report that includes findings on how cyber crime has become easier. It also sheds light on how IoT will magnify exploitation opportunities as it grows to an estimated range of 20-50 billion connected devices by 2020.
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"IoT offers previously unimaginable connectivity and applications, yet the ease of deployment and the desire to innovate often override security concerns," it said. The report revealed that threat actors are testing limits of the security mechanisms in place.
The attacks against hotel temperature control systems, the ability to influence the correct operation of automotive vehicles and manipulation of medical devices have shown that connectivity without security can be annoying, inconvenient and even life threatening to the users, it added.
"Considering how most organisations are still struggling with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), the challenges of the IoT comes at the worst of times, particularly when you consider that the IoT includes consumer devices that IT may be forced to support for business purposes," it said.
The potential risks of the IoT are so high because the vast majority of connected devices are designed for easy digital access; security is not a priority, it added.
Websense Security Labs 2015 Threat Report data was collected and evaluated using its ThreatSeeker Intelligence Cloud that receives up to 5 billion inputs daily from around the world.