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Security for the Internet of Things: A call to action

Our increasingly connected world carries both opportunities and threats. Assess your readiness.

Overview

Preparing for The Internet of Things

As the Internet of Things (IoT) connects innumerable everyday devices, previously closed systems are opened up to remote access and control.

Unfortunately, hostile parties lurk everywhere, ready to exploit any vulnerability. To attain full rewards of the digital age, businesses and consumers need to believe the IoT’s benefits exceed their risks.

The urgency for viable IoT security solutions grows by the day. At front-of-mind for many business and government leaders lies the same, nagging question: What do we need to do to secure the IoT?

Our research illustrates how business must adapt to this new reality by creating an agile, resilient and vigilant security apparatus embedded into products and services, prepared to fight off cyber-attacks before its too late. Read on as we detail our vision. 

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Video

Security Call to Action: Preparing for the Internet of Things

Examine the 6 steps to improve your security profile.

EMERGING RISK SCENARIOS

Intelligent, connected devices are now a fact of life, in business and at home, requiring detailed understanding of security requirements for specific areas. Without sufficient attention to security needs, things can quickly go wrong, as the following scenarios suggest:


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No. 1: Industrial Control Systems

Operating and controlling physical machinery via software offers cyber-attackers a rich target to exploit.

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No. 2: Connected Vehicles

Attackers could introduce malicious software or settings to a vehicle’s system, with potentially fatal consequences.

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No. 3: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

An attacker could compromise a drone’s navigation system and effectively steal it, or take control.

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No. 4: Connected Retail

Information on consumer spending behavior, location and other aspects could be abused.

UNDERSTANDING THREATS

Effective IoT security should be integrated into business processes and product lifecycle schedules. Threat vectors pursued by hackers depend on their motives and skills, but in simplified terms, we see these components as most vulnerable: 

Applications 

Attackers may exploit weaknesses in application domains, many of which result from poor security awareness by users.  

Networks 

Domain attacks might focus on the core network infrastructure and the access network, or exploit vulnerabilities in protocols. 

Devices and equipment 

Connected household appliances and other devices depend on hard-coded access keys, making them vulnerable to brute-force attacks and spoofing.


"With cyber-attacks hitting closer to home, urgency for viable cybersecurity solutions grows exponentially."
KEVIN RICHARDS
Managing Director, Accenture North America Security Practice Lead.

YOUR NEXT STEPS

For the digital enterprise to securely embrace the emerging IoT, it must seamlessly perceive its surroundings and automatically respond to changes and threats. We strongly recommend IT security leaders do the following:

  • Engineer trust into your connected products
  • Adopt a new operational mind set
  • Develop Contextualized Threat Models
  • Apply mobile and cyber-physical system security lessons
  • Adopt privacy by design (PbD) principles
  • Track and make use of emerging standards
  • Continue to educate system users

Responsibility for end-to-end security in the IoT ultimately falls to the enterprise. The more a business emphasizes a trusted systems approach, the greater the assurance it is properly accounting for security. Because perfect security is not possible, ongoing, tireless vigilance is a must.

Meet the Security Leadership Team

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