The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of “things” or physical electronics embedded with some type of network connectivity, sensors, or software, which enables electronics to collect and exchange data. In the IoT sense, “things” encompass a variety of electronic devices such as biochip transponders on animals, heart monitors, manufacturing equipment, and automobiles with built in sensors. The Internet of Things allows electronics to be controlled and sensed remotely across the network, creating various opportunities for more direct implementation between computer systems and physical devices, which allow for improved accuracy, efficiency, and economic benefits. However, the rising trend of network connectivity in multiple devices also come with risks associated with cyber security and privacy.
What are the dangers of a Internet of Things cyber attack?
In the recent years, concerns about the Internet of Things developing devices without consideration of security challenges involved have been brought up. In WGA’s recent survey about 2016 Business Management Trends, 77% of executive business leaders agree that security is the biggest concern in adopting this type of technology.
In the automotive industry, hundreds of thousands of vehicles have been found to be at risk of cyber-attacks. With consumer demands for network connectivity in automobiles growing by the day, a secure connection from the car to the Internet is now essential. But with this increasing necessity comes the increasing capability of hackers to gain access to a vehicle and its features and functions. Once inside, an attacker can manipulate the vehicle’s electronic architecture and expose the car to multiple risks.
The consequences of a Internet of Things cyber-attack include:
- Discontinuity of essential car operations
- Brand reputation damage and loss of integrity
- Theft of customer data/ privacy breach
- Unavailability of information and other services
- Vehicular impairment and sabotage
What should Internet of Things manufacturers do?
The growth of the Internet of Things on the industrial side has increased the number of opportunities for hackers to breach security, steal intellectual property, and trade secrets. This threat to businesses is why companies should consider penetration testing. A penetration test involves testing a company’s network infrastructure to make sure that there are no threats that can breach the organization’s cyber security.
Internet based cyber-attacks may traditionally employ low-tech scams such as phishing techniques, or use sophisticated software such as key loggers to capture usernames and passwords of employees. All businesses that use computer systems are at risk, which is why penetration testing is important.
The steps to effectively test your company’s cyber security include:
- Defining goals and objectives. There must be a clear goal for the penetration test. A company that performs a test with no clear objective shouldn’t be surprised if it yields no clear results. In most cases, the goal of the test is to determine exploitable vulnerabilities within a company’s network infrastructure.
- Collecting and analyzing information. The next step is to collect as much information as possible about the “targeted” networks or systems. There’s a variety of tools and resources online available for companies to do the necessary information gathering.
- Detecting vulnerabilities. Determine the vulnerabilities that exist in each network or system. Testers should have a selection of exploits at their disposal for this step.
- Attempting penetration. After identifying vulnerabilities in the network, the next stage is to determine the targets and test. Various tools online can help organizations perform this test, though most generally require customization.
- Analyzing and reporting. Generate a report of the test for the company. The report should start with an overview of the process done, and followed by an analysis on the key vulnerabilities that exist in the system.
As organizations in the manufacturing industry move forward into the Internet of Things and apply e-commerce models into their trade strategies, manufacturers should look into investing more resources in security for their computer networks. When cyber-attacks do occur, companies will have to demonstrate the predisposition for responding efficiently and in a timely manner, in order to minimize the impact and keep operations untouched. Security for these networks that govern the wellbeing of our lives must be fortified during design, production, and distribution stages, and even monitored after the purchase to ensure customers’ peace of mind.
How can WGA help?
Our experience in the automotive industry allows WGA to offer singular and unique objective recommendations and execution services that will give manufacturers the ability to adapt, renew, and prepare themselves to succeed in a turbulent environment. We provide Strategy Consulting that can help with identifying and prioritizing cyber security initiatives, and Business Transformation services that can facilitate the integration of any structural changes. From strategy to operations, we are committed to helping our clients build their functional skills and sustain performance. We recognize that only through our clients’ success can we achieve ours.