Industry experts who have been using 5G have different stories on how the technology impacts their life as each is using it in different ways. The 5G network is all about connected vehicle technology for auto manufacturers. The healthcare industry is preparing to welcome new technologies like telemedicine, while telecommunication companies are gearing up for the next generation of mobile devices. However, one thing is for sure, even with different goals: they’re all connected to a quickly expanding Internet of Things (IoT).
Vendors see the increase in demand for connectivity and 5G-enabled IoT devices. As a result, they are rushing to be first to market, aiming for dominance in a relatively new, untapped market. The wave of competition could speed up innovations but might also sacrifice security testing. Potential vulnerabilities may remain hidden in the backend of devices. We hope vendors will give much time to testing security vulnerabilities. Still, the addition of thousands of new devices offers an opportunity for malicious online threat actors and parties to penetrate the market with overwhelming force.
If a threat actor manages to access a device, they may use lateral movement to gain access to other devices that typically inaccessible. The 5G networks’ expansion will provide more options for access. Because this is such a new technology, it’ll take time for device vendors how they can secure the network and combat exploited vulnerabilities.
Understanding the Risks and Paying Attention to the Environment
Any IoT device connected to a network can be vulnerable to cyberattacks. The vulnerability may extend to more simple devices like Wi-Fi-enabled picture frames in smart homes. Most simple devices usually run on older versions of operating systems with well-known applicable exploits and flaws. A photo frame that is connected to the network may look innocent on a desk, but it can be a vulnerable endpoint.
The attack surface area of a device may decrease when its complexity increases. However, the lack of security throughout the development process of IoT products or services can cause the initial flaw early in development. Also, the other thing that continues to plague the IoT landscape is the lack of frequent updates.
For now, until those issues with IoT devices are being adequately addressed, the best defense is to understand what risks a particular device can carry and pay attention to its environment. And businesses can do this without being involved in the development process. For example:
- Have a constant scanning for vulnerabilities of all critical network-connected nodes before threat actors can exploit them.
- Set up an alert threshold that triggers in real-time. Set specific rules to identify any malicious activities in log data and network traffic.
- Encourage employees to avoid using the same username and password combinations and require them to enable two-factor authentication.
The 5G networks bring so much excitement to many new possibilities for new devices and technologies, but it’s important to note that nothing is ever 100 percent safe. However, you can minimize the risks and create a secure environment of 5G-enabled devices while embracing their potential. You just need to stay aware of what connected devices are on a network, their uses, and who is using them.
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to all physical devices in different parts of the globe that are now connected to the internet, all sharing and collecting data. These devices wouldn’t usually be generally expected to have an internet connection. The arrival of super-cheap computer chips and the presence of wireless networks everywhere make billions of physical devices around the world to be connected to the internet.
It’s now possible to turn anything as small as a pill or as big as an airplane into a part of the IoT. Devices get an additional level of digital intelligence when they are connected and added with sensors, allowing them to communicate real-time data without human intervention. The merging of digital and physical universes is made possible with the Internet of Things.
Understanding the Internet of Things
All physical objects can be transformed into an IoT device, provided that it can be connected to the internet to communicate information or to be controlled. A lightbulb can be transformed into an IoT device when it can be switched on using a smartphone app. The same thing with a smart thermostat, a motion sensor in your office, or a connected streetlight.
An IoT device could be as simple as your child’s toy or as complicated as a driverless monster truck. Some large objects may themselves consist of thousands of smaller IoT components. A modern jet engine is filled with thousands of smaller IoT components, including sensors collecting and transmitting data back to ensure it is operating smoothly. At an even larger scale, smart cities projects are deploying sensors all over regions to help us understand and control the environment.
PCs and smartphones are not generally considered IoT devices since the term IoT only applies for devices that generally not expected to connect to the internet and can communicate with the network without involving a human being. However, smartwatches and fitness bands and other wearable devices might be counted as an IoT device.
How big is the IoT?
IoT is prominent as the number of connected things already exceeded the number of connected people in the world. And the Internet of Things is expected to get bigger every year. IDC, a tech analyst company, predicts that there will be 41.6 billion connected IoT devices or things in total by 2025. The company also suggests automotive and industrial equipment represent the most significant opportunity for connected things. It also sees the robust adoption of wearable devices and smart homes in the near term.
Gartner, another tech analyst, expects 5.8 billion devices in the enterprise and automotive sectors in 2020, up nearly a quarter of 2019. The highest user of IoT will be utilities, owing to the continuing rise of smart meters. The second most top user of IoT devices will be security devices, in the form of web cameras and intruder detection. The fastest-growing sector will be building automation, such as connected lighting. The second fastest will be automotive for connected cars and healthcare for monitoring of chronic diseases.