Internet of Things is defined as a system of interconnected devices, that communicate with each other, to share information, and derive usable insights from it. A shared ecosystem, while increases the ability to work efficiently, but also brings more vulnerabilities.
With the increasing cyber crimes in the field of Internet of Things(IoT), it has become important to take considerable steps to ensure the security of such environments. While the Cybersecurity system for IoT is still taking hits, and trying to cope up with existing challenges, here are the few ways, it can possibly take steps towards, to ensure, better safety to  IoT network:
  1. Zero-trust security with Blockchain

With the emergence of Blockchain technology, it gained widespread acknowledgment from all fields, due to its transparency and security. Blockchain works on a distributed ledger, that records all transaction, that is created and distributed, and is shared with all users. Such transparency makes it impossible for counterfeiting recorded transactions or tampering. This can be an invaluable asset for  Cybersecurity system, by keeping information safe, like user identities, messages, logs, and making it difficult to brute force or ‘hack’ into such devices of the system.

A Zero-trust security is a system, in which no devices trust each other, and authentication is always required, to verify each other. Such mechanisms might add a slight overhead to its performance but adds a great deal to its security. Verifying it every time makes it almost impossible to sniff into one’s communication channel, or impersonate as a trusted system. Blockchain can be used to build smart contracts for devices communication, that will enable interactions without a prior defined trust relationship. This will make the system resources and transactions more auditable and less prone to attack, due to the compromised system. It would not only prevent outside attacks but also reduce the chances of inside attacks(sniffers or compromised system in a network).

  1. Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning in IoT

While Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are basically used to make intelligent decisions for IoT to optimize resources usage, but it can also improve the security of such networks. IoT collects a massive amount of data, which is then crunched by AI systems, to find patterns and provide feedback for its proper functioning. These data can also help predict user’s behavior, and find out potential threats, also known as Predictive policing. Such technology can prevent future attacks, and find the perpetrator before it happens. While the system may not be able to prevent every cyber attack, but it can help organization gets insights on its potential flaws, and work towards rectifying it.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can also automate the security protocols for the IoT system, and can guaranty impartiality towards the system checks, thanks to zero human interventions. It can implement bots to ping though all the networks and communication channels, to ensure that no devices are compromised at any time. Due to the evolving nature of AI, it is difficult for any third party to predict the system checks and sniff into a secure system, undetected. Such bots can not only do silent system checks but can also take preventive actions, to stop malicious activities, on behalf of human administrators.

  1.  Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP)

With the rate of adoption of IoT devices, there isn’t a singular security standard, or a governing community to set the guidelines for the IoT system. Most of the companies implement their own cybersecurity standard, as of now, to protect themselves from cybercrimes but in doing so, reduces the interoperability of the systems, due to standards mismatch.

One way to ensure similarities between standards is to follow the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), which elaborates the security issues related to IoT and provides a set of guidelines/best practices, that should be followed to avoid any vulnerabilities in the system, while adopting or upgrading it to IoT infrastructure. OWASP IoT provides a list of attack surfaces and standards to enable organizations to access the security risks, related to such systems, and how to ensure the security of the network.OWASP iot attack surface

  1. Lightweight IoT Security

Pervasive IoT systems are more at risk of cyber attacks due to limited resources, and minimal network security. IoT devices are built to be energy efficient, hence they don’t contain a lot of performance firepower, to provide a fully secure system. Hence, for such devices, light-weight security systems come in handy. These lightweight systems can handle authentication, key exchanges, and access control, without utilizing too much of resources. One such example of a lightweight authentication system is ‘WiFi Hallow’, used for low-rate and long-range IoT applications. Since these devices are not powerful, the lightweight mechanism needs to make sure, that it focuses on meeting the specific requirements, rather than providing all over protection. Various such mechanism can be put into place, to ensure all requirements are covered up, without adding an overhead to the processing power.

  1. Active Cyber Defense

Most of the cybersecurity system like authentication, encryption, access controls are passive defenses, which tries to prevent the attackers from breaking in. They do not help in analyzing the patterns to actively fighting the intruders.  Active cyber defense like Deception based cyber system sets up random changes in network security, making it difficult for attackers to hack in to, lure them to pre-deployed honeypots. Honeypots traps are virtual devices, which acts as a part of the system but are closely monitored by system admins, so if an attacker gets lured into one, then the organization can find out more about the hacker’s behavior, and the weak spots in their system, through which they got the entry.

A deception-based cyber system can also set up multiple fake credentials, to access the system. These fake credentials, if used by a hacker to gain access, can be closely monitored, find their patterns, and help fortify the security system, by identifying the flaw in the system.

  1. Naming conventions other than IP addresses

All the devices including IoT devices use IPv4 and IPv6 for naming conventions, to distinguish themselves from other, and or communication. Even though it increases the interoperability between the system, but it also becomes relatively easier for hackers to impersonate another device in the system, and gain access. To avoid it, IoT devices should a different naming convention like Host Identity Protocol (HIP), to interact with each other. This will distinguish IoT devices from other devices and will use host identities, instead of an IP address. They will share cryptographic keys to enable communication with each other. This will ensure that no device outside the network can directly access or communicate with IoT devices, making it safer, reducing the chances of an attack.

While these solutions can surely provide the answers for the much-needed security upgrade for IoT systems, but it will take quite some time, before those can be properly researched and deployed. Till then, Manufacturers and organizations have to set up their own cybersecurity paradigm, while following the basic standards, provided by OWASP.

IOT Testing Guidance
IOT Testing Guidance