What is IoT?
The term Internet of Things (IoT) was first coined by Kevin Ashton of Procter & Gamble in 1999. “Things”, in the sense Ashton meant, include a wide variety of devices such as heart monitoring implants, biochip transponders on farm animals, cameras streaming live feeds, or automobiles with built-in sensors. Ashton correctly predicted large numbers of these devices communicating autonomously with other devices via the internet, creating an internet of things, distinct in a way from the internet of people.
Current market examples include smart-home devices that control lighting, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, and appliances such as washer/ dryers, robotic vacuums, air purifiers, ovens, and refrigerators/freezers that use Wi-Fi for remote monitoring. IoT may also include large, critical public infrastructure such as utility installations that are increasingly controlled remotely via internet.
Internet-connected devices of all kinds are vulnerable to cyber-attacks, advanced threats, and hacking. IoT security refers to the challenges and solutions around ensuring that IoT devices are well secured against these threats.
Why IoT is important
Data loss, identity theft, money theft. These are the main dangers of traditional cyber-crime, which targets information. But the IoT introduces a whole new level of downside, the potential for true, real-world mayhem. If hackers can take control of a car, or a fleet of trucks, or a nuclear power station, or your front door lock, the impact could be far more severe than traditional online threats.
Concerns have been raised that the Internet of things is being developed too rapidly, without appropriate consideration of the profound security challenges involved. Most of the technical security issues are similar to those of conventional servers, workstations, and smartphones. This means that every “thing” needs a firewall for protection. Without a firewall, connected devices can easily become a target for cyber criminals.
What you can do
If you need to secure multiple connected devices, the Barracuda CloudGen Firewall Secure Connector appliances (FSC) are ultra-small units that reliably connect each remote device with multiple uplinks, and even provide automated failover in case one uplink fails.
The Secure Connector appliance provides zone-based firewalling, Wi-Fi, and full VPN connectivity for the connected device. Network traffic is then backhauled to a Machine Access Security Broker (MASB), running at your central office or in the cloud, for inspection and other resource-intensive security tasks. The MASB acts as a connectivity hub for up to 2,500 Secure Connector appliances. It enforces security policies with the full feature set of Barracuda CloudGen Firewalls, including IPS, Denial of Service Protection, Application Control, URL Filtering, Virus Scanning, and even Advanced Threat Protection (with CPU-emulation sandboxing).