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Security in a future of IoT based on 5G

19 Mar 2020

Defined as “Sensors and actuators embedded in physical objects that are linked through wired and wireless networks", Internet of Things (IoT) emerged 21 years ago, when the Internet was the thing

IoT connects the physical and digital world

In 2020, IoT no longer means just "linked sensor objects". It has evolved from simple devices that capture data to something that connects the physical and digital worlds, makes sense of what is happening, and takes actions that benefit the physical world. Today, IoT-devices are small, cheap, robust, and everywhere - according to Statista, there will be 74 billion connected devices by 2025! This unparalleled growth of connected IoT devices is driven by emergence of 5G networks. 

5G means new possibilities – and risks - for IoT

5G promises to offer greater capacity, reduced latency and faster speeds – think gigabits per second rather than megabytes. Critical infrastructures, transport systems and IoT enabled smart homes are bound to be run on top of 5G networks. However, at the same time, IoT manufacturers are engaged in a blind chase for market shares. When time-to-market and low-cost devices are the battleground, security is inevitably neglected. This radically changes the potential attack surface for hackers. By 2025, hackers will have their choice of 74 billion “weak links” in a security chain, taking down or disrupting critical infrastructure, energy grids or home IoT devices. Consequently, device security is fundamental and cannot be overlooked without risking severe consequences on society.

security standards

Security standards and digital responsibility

The great news is that there is help around the corner. Back in February 2019, ETSI Technical Committee on Cybersecurity (TC CYBER) announced a global standard, ETSI TS 103 645, cybersecurity for IoT. The standard establishes a security baseline for consumer IoT products and provides basis for future IoT certification schemes. Finland was the first European country to take this next step with the Cybersecurity label, announced in November 2019. The Cybersecurity label  is awarded by National Cyber Security Centre Finland (NCSC-FI) to IoT devices if they meet the certification criteria, which is based on ETSI standard. 

In a future of IoT in a 5G world, IoT manufacturers need to ensure that their products meet the requirements of the security standards. Moreover, it is vital that the manufacturers are digitally responsible and liable for manufacturing secure devices. 

If you would like to know some more about digital responsibility– or if you need some help with cybersecurity solutions to raise information security – you are most welcome to contact us at Advenica.

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