How ‘cryptography’​ helps in securing IoT connected devices

By Naveen Joshi – Founder and CEO of Allerin

Works in Big Data,IoT , AI and Blockchain

Accelerated adoption of IoT connected devices has attracted ‘malicious actors’ to play the unfair game of hacking. Hence, as a solution to IoT security risks, organizations should incorporate ‘cryptography’ for IoT security.

The desire to attain digitization, innovation, and growth has compelled several organizations, worldwide, to harness the power of IoT. The fact that IoT allows ‘things’ and ‘lives’ to connect with each other via network connectivity is in itself a significant revolution. Most importantly, the potential of IoT to bring life to electronic devices, enabling non-living things to receive and communicate useful data, is just phenomenal. While everyone is speaking about how special IoT is for all of us humans, we would like to have some ‘real’ talk on the issues associated with the use of this technology.

With IoT going mainstream, there is an increasing concern of ‘grifters’ actively looking out for ways to steal our data. If organizations are already leveraging advanced technologies for mitigating data security risks, then why do we continue to hear news about data breaches so frequently? It is also expected that by 2020 a severe IoT data breach will occur in one way or the other.

In light of such contradictory situations, it is necessary that organizations find the right solution for safeguarding their data and addressing the growing cybersecurity threats. One such ‘effective’ solution that organizations could opt for is by using cryptography for IoT security.

Concerns around security risks

We live in a world of reliable connectivity, where with a single click, we can obtain the required information at a much faster rate. Online transactions, ‘micro-sensors’ on vehicles, ‘smart’ housing, and many other such ‘smart’ devices’ are actively collecting sensitive information, all the time. By collecting information on us, organizations are improving their services and products, thereby offering us enhanced customer experience. But, in a digital world, where everything is available so quickly and readily, we tend to forget that we are inevitably inviting the villains (read hackers). The infamous 2016 Dyn cyberattack is a proof of how insecure IoT connected devices are. Hence, to solve this issue, organizations should ingrain a strong ‘hashing system’ that validates the sender and receiver before any data exchange takes place.

Cryptography for IoT security

By using cryptography for IoT security, organizations can ensure that the data in transit between a sender and a receiver is secure. Cryptography not only secures data from hackers, but also provides immense confidentiality (un-understandable), integrity (un-modifiable), and even authentication (only legit participants can share) to data. Just like Google encrypts our incoming and outgoing emails and checks for malware, IoT devices should also incorporate a similar approach. By using an unbeatable hashing system, a participant on the IoT network should create an authentication code for a message that needs to be sent. On the other hand, the recipient should use the same hashing algorithm to unlock the authentication code. While in the case of online transactions, you should ensure that the transaction made is legitimate by using a ‘two-factor authentication’ method. Additionally, for ensuring IoT devices authenticity, organizations should opt for ‘attribute-based encryption.’ For example, if you are using an IoT-based health monitoring wearable, then only your physician and the insurance company can obtain the data.

We know that hackers are getting smarter day-by-day by employing new-age technologies and improved hacking methods. However, our endeavor should be to give a ‘tough’ competition to hackers by incorporating ‘non-hackable’ solutions like cryptography.

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