New Challenges Created by the IoT

New Challenges Created by the IoT

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New Challenges Created by the IoT

People today live in an interconnected world, where almost all devices are linked to other devices. The internet of things (IoT) is developing in a major way, and is providing numerous opportunities. Even though people have seen such forms in science fiction for several decades, such technology now either already exist or are on the brink of coming into existence. IoT is an emerging area that joins several technologies such as the internet, computers, information, communication, and technology (ICT), and networks to create a system that connects the true and digital worlds. IoT is perceived as one of the most critical areas of technological innovation that would impact the future and draws attention from nearly all sectors. Today, many smart devices are interlinked and communicate through internet-enabled protocols. With an escalation in the application of smart devices, the IoT ought to have a significant effect on human life (Farooq et al., 2015), but as it appears in the illustration, the technology increases one’s likelihood of being a victim of hacking. Operators in different fields are now afraid of the increased cases of hacking, which put their operations at high risk, and this is evident in the automobile production sector, health industry, ICT, firearm production and several other areas where IoT could be applicable. Taking quick measures to deal with the increased threats of hacking due to the developments in IoT, including educating users of connected devices could help prevent violations, which usually have devastating effects.

Describing IoT

IoT implies to the ever-escalating networks of physical objects embedded with an IP address to enhance internet connectivity, and also refers to the communication that happens between such objects and other devices and systems that can access the internet. IoT expands internet connectivity past traditional apparatus such as laptops, desktops, tablets, and smartphones to a number of devices and everyday appliances that use embedded technique to interact and communicate with the outside environment, all using the internet (Colakovic & Hadzialic, 2018 and Kranz, 2017). IoT sometimes referred to as Internet of Everything (IoE) comprises of all the web-connected apparatus that gather, transmit, and act on information they get from the surrounding environments utilizing processors, sensors and other communication apparatus (Colakovic & Hadzialic, 2018). The apparatus can sometimes converse to other electronic components through a process known as M2M (machine-to-machine) interaction, and act on the information they gather from each other (Hassan, 2018). Human can communicate with the IoT devices to instruct them or reach the information, but the machines can work effectively well without maximum human indulgence. Some of the appliances falling under the IoT encompass thermostats, lighting systems, speakers, alarm clocks, vehicles, electronic devices, vending equipment and many others (Greengard, 2015). Operators nowadays can also leverage IoT devices to automate safety operations, for instance, notify the authority when a fire breaks out in a building, or to carry out real tests using sensors and cameras to identify and learn how consumers interact with the goods they purchase.

As far as the use of IoT is concerned, there are more than 11.8 billion devices that can presently link to the internet and investigators predict that there will be 27 times more connected devices and apparatus than human beings come 2020. The high number of connected devices is due to the benefits users get from applying the technology. The technology, for example, allows real time communication, improves security, and improves various business operations (Makhdoom et al., 2018).

New Challenges of using IoT

Even though IoT presents numerous advantages in the present world, it is vital to consider some of the negative aspects that could occur following the application of the technology. The teams and individuals using IoT for different purposes should be keen on the diverse range of threats that could emanate with their utilization of the innovation and identify and apply some of the most suitable ways of preventing further threat (McEwen & Cassimally, 2018). Failing to adopt the most suitable solutions could present a situation where many people are afraid of what they thought to would transform how they communicate, do business, and protect their property.

Hacking Related Issues

IoT is no way resistant to hacking, which is a major threat that comes with increased developments in technology. So far, several industries have reported cases of hacking on their systems, and this is generating so much concern from manufacturers and consumers alike. One such are witnessing cases of infringement is the motor manufacturing sector where as much as more car makers develop internet-enabled auto motors as it is evident with driverless cars, the task ahead appears to be far from over (Ryan & Watson, 2017).  The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2016 partnered with the DOT (U.S Department of Transportation), as well as the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration) to sensitize people about the possible cyber security fears to internet-enabled vehicles (Ryan & Watson, 2017). The joint effort to caution car owners and buyers came after a controlled test by some hackers demonstrated how it is possible to interfere with Jeep Cherokee’s system while it moved at a speed of 70km/h by alternating the steering wheel and bring the vehicle to a halt from a remote location.

 The deputy director of security technology at the U.S.-based-BlackBerry (Adam Boulton) urges both makers of self-drive and cars that auto-connect and buyers to be wary of the security implications because it might reach a time when automobiles are held at ransom by violators, and improperly used to commit other cyber attacks. Boulton says the market is already witnessing an increase of auto-connect vehicles that incorporate highly developed aspects such as the capability to park automatically, and the ability to assist on how to avoid routes that are jam-packed (Fearn, 2017). Whereas such innovation ought to depict a period of lowered accidents, reduced pollution, improved productivity, and little congestion, inadequate preparedness could present a situation where engines are switched off from unknown destinations, or where cars are restrained by hackers for some ransom (Fearn, 2017). Boulton feels that barring malicious persons from taking complete control of the vehicle needs much improvement in engineering not only to secure the car but also to guarantee its safety. Maybe, Boulton hopes, embracing technologies such as secured booting where the either the maker or the car owner can switch off the functions remotely upon realizing any abnormality would help reduce fears in this sector.

Apart from the escalating fears in the car-manufacturing sector, more scholars continue to warn on the increasing number of meddling hackers who apart from interfering with computer systems compromise other structures as well. Meddling hackers find their ways into electronic devices such as routers, internet-enabled thermostats, and webcams with the motive of launching an extensive attack on particular corporations (Helmi, Sokeh & Sepidnam, 2017). Hackers, for example, now apply malwares such as Mirai, which provides the ability to cripple various networks, and this was evident in 2016 when unidentified hackers used several IoT apparatus to launch a DDoS (distributed denial of service) infringement on a French-based hosting company (Helmi, Sokeh & Sepidnam, 2017). The hackers while using Mirai successfully deprived the firm of vital data causing fears across the firm and buyers across the globe. Helmi, Sokeh and Sepidnam (2017) who elaborate how hackers are increasingly taking advantage of the growth and developments in IoT to commit their heinous acts assert that buyers and the smart devices they own have unknowingly become accomplices in cyber crimes, and nothing is halting such issues from unfolding. Helmi, Sokeh and Sepidnam (2017) predicts that such occurrences may become rampant in the coming years as different societies continue to experience exponential expansion in IoT. Manufacturers in their attempt to prevent meddling hackers from entering their systems need to understand that attackers have exploited the loopholes and are using them for their own benefit, and unless the development process takes a much developed aspect where effective security control are put in place such threats from meddling hackers may continue to disturb manufacturers and buyers.

Today, the growth of IoT presents a scenario where no electronic device may be perceived as being safe. Even as IoT continues to expand, with buyers flocking various shops to purchase the latest electronic devices, criminals perceive this as a lucrative chance to, as in many scenarios consumer-ready apparatus can present little challenge to compromise. According to a survey by Madakam, Ramaswamy and Tripathi (2015) it emerges that hundreds of internet-enabled apparatus are open to violations from hackers and cybercriminals. General Manager and Vice President at Norton (Nick Shaw) informs that common appliances such as cameras, security systems, and smart TVs are all open to hacking, and can be held at ransom or for other fraud-related purposes. The leader at Norton, which is one of the globe’s leading manufacturers of anti-virus, says that “as consumers continue to embrace more internet-connected apparatus cyber criminals are increasingly becoming wittier” (Fearn, 2017). Shaw informs that the main reason consumer devices are being violated is because they are linked to the internet yet their default passwords remain unchanged. Greengard (2015) asserts that one of the main reasons many consumer devices are open to attack is device owners in many instances do not acknowledge that their smart devices or home appliances are open to the same threats as their smartphones and laptops, and as such they do not take suitable measures to safeguard them. Buyers can also lower the threat of their devices being compromised by changing the default settings and changing the privacy settings because such attempts could improve the safety of internet-connected devices.

The developments in IoT make other areas vulnerable to the issue of hacking, thus creating the urge to take appropriate measures that would prevent further spread of the threat. Attackers, for instance, can break into health facilities in many different aspects, and they can utilize medical records for inappropriate reasons. They can sell the medical data for financial gain, which can be utilized for some harmful purposes, or attackers can target health facilities employing IoT technology and hit it with a ransomware and threaten the institution to pay some fee to get the data back (Perera et al., 2014). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed in 2016 that implantable cardiac apparatus for St. Jude Medical were susceptible to hacking because they were embedded with loopholes that could permit hackers to invade the devices (Maple, 2017). Once they get entry, they could finish the battery or instigate inappropriate shocks and pacing. Such devices are very important because they monitor and regulate the heart functions of a patient and prevent heart attacks, and failing to adopt measures that could prevent possible violations could put the lives of many people at risk (Maple, 2017). The development of smart weapons, thanks to the advancements in IoT put such devices at risk of being tampered with. Such violations put a nation at more security risks because people will not be able to trust what they consider as their guard any longer.

Other Challenges

Now that it is evident IoT presents significant risks of hacking, it is vital to get some insight on the other dangers associated with the innovation. The issue of networking is a major challenge that Ali, Ali and Badawy (2015) feel will constrain the application of IoT. The traffic and the channels that have a crucial effect on the network’s behavior, and when the company lacks proper software and hardware, networking involving IoT can be an overwhelming task for the corporation incorporating the technology (Tsai et al., 2014). Organizations experience high costs when implementing IoT because of the expenditures incurred in acquiring the software, the compatible hardware, hiring professionals, installing the program and configuring with the firm’s system, and managing the process (Ali, Ali & Badawy, 2015). Such costs sometimes deter small and medium enterprises from embracing measures that would prevent possibilities of hacking. The other challenge IoT present is not so many companies are already applying the technology. A study by Beale and Berris (2018) reveals that up to 85% of about 5000 companies surveyed are in the process of installing the technology, or still intend to employ IoT. Only 10% of those surveyed in the study agreed they are comfortable with the way they use the technology. The fear of eavesdropping is becoming a major concern for manufacturers and consumers alike who feel that IoT would present significant challenge. Beale and Berris (2018) argue that hackers or some manufacturers could utilize a connected apparatus to invade someone’s privacy. A case of eavesdropping was evident when a German investigator showed this by interrupting unprotected data from a smart meter to determine the TV shows the house owner was watching at any particular moment.  All in all, the fears emanating due to the challenges presented with IoT could affect consumers’ confidence in buying connected devices, which would bar the technology from attaining its aspirations and potential (Ali, Ali & Badawy, 2015). All these challenges together with the escalating concerns of hacking require urgent attention from all stakeholders, lest the innovation yields so many problems now and in the future.

Suggestions on how to Improve Security

Unless proper measures are put in place to curb the threats presented by the use of IoT, more problems will occur in future that would be difficult to deal with. The best way to counter increased hackings is to enlighten consumers on how to protect the connected-devices they acquire. The manufacturers should be on the forefront in educating consumers on how to protect their devices, and this should extend to buyers themselves who need to carry out personal studies on how to avoid cases of hacking. Mohammed and Ahmed (2017) write that when someone arms their self with adequate information and proper resources, they are less vulnerable to attacks and wiser about possible security threats. Users may protect their selves and devices while online by regularly checking their preciseness of personal accounts and address any indifference immediately. People need to understand the essence of being cautious while posting content online, and in the way they engage others through chatting platforms (Mohammed & Ahmed, 2017). It is also fundamental to regulate the personal information one posts on their web pages because this exposes them to hackers who are always on the watch out for any unprotected data. The public sensitization process should remind internet users to always carefully evaluate the requests they get from other online users for any predatory conduct, and to always seclude financial and personal data from online interactions (Mohammed & Ahmed, 2017). Protecting oneself against hacking while online could also require people to employ extreme care when assenting to meet an online acquaintance face-to-face because this could put one at the risk of giving information that could increase their chance of being hacked.

More importantly, the manufacturers, trainers, and individual users should work towards embracing tips that would help them prevent the risks of hacking. The producers of laptops, for example, may remind their purchasers and the time of acquisition how using a two-way firewall would lower their chances of being susceptible to hackers (Mohammed & Qayyum, 2017). More essentially the manufacturers should remind buyers the importance of updating their operating system from time to time to increase the computer’s efficiency in responding to hacking attempts (Jindal, Jamar & Churi, 2018). Updating the OS, for example, allows the machine to run current anti-malware software, thus always preventing any infringement that could result in hacking. Online users seeking to prevent chances of hacking should stay away from questionable sites, and only source software from websites they trust (Jindal, Jamar & Churi, 2018). Usually, it is essential to scrutinize file-sharing and free software before installing them into the computer. Practicing safe email activities and observing malware procedures may also go a long way in preventing chances of being hacked in the environment where IoT is taking dominance. It is advisable not to open emails from strange or suspicious senders, and to immediately remove messages that are likely to be spam (Jindal, Jamar & Churi, 2018). Computer and smartphone owners should also make sure they install the most effective software in their devices, and to use trusted antivirus protection. Otherwise, unsafeguarded smart device now that IoT presents chances of being hacked is like an open access for predators and hackers.


Developments in IoT present advantages as well as disadvantages that require much attention. More importantly is the issue of hacking, which is becoming a major challenge with advancements in technology. Hackers can use information present in internet-enabled devices to carry out cybercrimes, which may sometimes be difficult to trace and apprehend the suspect. Already, operators in the ICT, automobile, health, and firearm making sectors have witnessed cases of infringements where hackers have manipulated systems for personal gain. Nonetheless, businesses and individuals may see the need to find ways of using IoT securely because of the many advantages that come with the technology. The best way to prevent the possibility of being a victim of hacking due to the improvements in IoT is to educate consumers on how to stay safe from hackers who are now focusing on consumer devices other than smartphones and computers. Consumers should also understand how advancements in IoT present risks of hacking and acquire information from different sources that would help them stay safe as they enjoy the great features the technology brings.


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