The cybersecurity challenges for IoT Today

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In recent years, the Internet of Things (IoT) has made a massive influx into “consumer markets” as well as finding its way into the heart of industrial sites and infrastructures. Has this come with the risk of increased cyber-attacks? This is what a growing number of public and private-sector decision-makers are fearful of. Cybersecurity is becoming a priority for Executive Committees, which is a first for a topic previously confined behind the walls of IT and engineering departments.

Calling upon the services of companies - that are experts in both cyber risk and the challenges associated with the use of IoT - is becoming a must for analyzing the security and safety of IoT products and their associated systems, before checking that the appropriate measures have indeed been taken. This is where Bureau Veritas is uniquely placed in being able to offer its new-found know-how in cybersecurity combined with the proven expertise of both its IoT testing labs and its industrial risk auditors.

In 2016, there were only a mere few thousand cyber-attacks that exploited the vulnerability of connected objects. Since 2016, the main observers of cybersecurity report a multiplication of these attacks by a factor of 3 to 7 according to the sources of measurement used, with + 50% increase in 2019 compared to 2018.” This is what Jean-Baptiste Gillet, (Strategy Director for Cybersecurity at Bureau Veritas) points out. He heads up the Task Force dedicated to cybersecurity at Bureau Veritas, and his message is clear: urgent action is needed.

In fact, with the boom in the number of devices connected to the Internet – in 2025, the figure will be close to the 40 billion mark – the “exposed area” (i.e. the area vulnerable to attacks) increases apace. To the point that 25% of cyber-attacks could come via these devices rather than computers. Whether it’s taking control of connected cars by cracking the Wi-Fi encryption, identifying vulnerabilities in connected locks or attacks on the ZigBee command system, examples of such attacks are numerous. Hackers are also finding more and more ways to exploit the flaws of connected objects to create a Botnet (a network of computer bots), for example, which could lead to large-scale attacks. This was the case for the 2016 Mirai Botnet, which infested several sites and services through vulnerable surveillance cameras.

That a hacker could take control of a connected toothbrush may seem relatively benign. However, for an organized team of cyber-attackers to succeed in accessing the command-control system of a chemical plant presents an altogether more troubling danger. What would happen if cyber-attackers managed to override the control system of a driverless car?


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