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IoT security refers to the technology required to secure smart devices within the Internet of Things network. Smart devices are devices that have been connected using IoT development services and are exposed to the world of the internet.

These devices help users share data without any significant actions performed by them. Though smart devices are intelligent enough to communicate with one another, they are always at risk of being hacked and used as a source of launching attacks at the larger network. These attacks can contain viruses or can be designed for information theft.

No matter what the case, the fact that IoT-integrated devices are still vulnerable has been brought to light recently and was awaiting some sort of response from global security certification companies.

Much to the IoT developers’ relief, UL, a global security certification firm, introduced a range of security ratings for the IoT devices. These include Diamond, Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. The introduction of IoT security ratings has been welcomed by the Internet of Things community and is being regarded as a positive development.

The Need for IoT Security Ratings

IoT security ratings were announced after a series of events exposed the vulnerability of IoT-integrated devices and how these could be hacked to misuse or steal users’ information. These included hacking connected devices such as baby monitors and talking to children, hacking Chrysler’s Jeep and changing the radio station being played, move vipers and break the engine of the car and numerous others.

All of the IoT security breaches were made to accesses a larger network through these devices. Upon deep introspection, some of the security issues which were positioning IoT integrated devices in the unfavorable spot were identified and have been  discussed below:

Weak/Default Device Passwords:

The first and foremost problem with IoT integrated devices was that no matter how strongly these devices had formed a connection, the default password associated with these machines was not set strongly, thus leading to constant information breaches and security threats posed by hackers.

Lack of Resources:

Secondly, IoT devices lack the resources needed to implement or entertain strong security features. Even if a framework is introduced to keep these machines safe, they are deprived of the ability to adapt and reinforcing it.

Frequency of Security Updates:

Another issue faced by IoT developers and users was that even if there were some security updates recommendations, their frequency was once in a while. Just like most Samsung devices keep downloading and installing security updates automatically to the device to protect the end-users’ information and data, similarly, other IoT devices also needed regular updates of security settings.

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Adding New Technology to Old Systems:

Yet another challenge for corporate IoT-integrated devices’ users is that smart devices have a hard time connecting with a device that has old systems or runs on older technologies. The old devices are not designed to be connected to newer and smarter devices.

Moreover, disposing of it is way more costly for the organization than keeping it and bringing it into the loop of smart devices, thus, an attempt to somehow upgrade it to the newer systems will be made which could prove to be quite challenging.

Obviously the organization is completely aware of the difference of technology in both sets of devices, the only reason it is trying to take the later into the loop of smart devices is probably that it is one of the organization’s legacy assets.

Lack of Uniformity in Existing IoT Security Frameworks:

Lastly, the existing IoT security frameworks lack uniformity and not a single framework is agreed upon. This also puts the unprotected smart devices at the risk of being hacked.

The Introduction of IoT Security Ratings and their Impact

IoT security ratings introduced by the UL are used to categorize smart devices, especially the ones falling in smart homes category into 5 categories. These categories as mentioned before were, Diamond, Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze.

Each category is based on the number of security features installed and implemented in smart devices by the manufacturers. The IoT security ratings will be printed on the packaging for these products.

The introduction of these ratings has brought a sigh of relief from both, the end-users and manufacturers. End users were previously buying smart devices blinded by the idea of new technology and cool gadgets suffered at the hands of hackers and malicious attacks.

The implementation of IoT security ratings will help them understand which of these smart devices are worth their bucks and which should be left alone. In this way, they will also be able to keep their families secure from security threats such as hacking of home devices and hounding the end-users’ privacy.

When it comes down to manufacturers, the IoT security ratings will help them differentiate their products from their competitors’ and position it with an edge. The manufacturers whose devices are really secure and earn a ‘Diamond’ rating surely will get the opportunity to price their products accordingly, market and brand them as the safest options available in the industry and thus earn end-users’ trust.

Whereas, those manufacturers who had been selling their low-quality devices in terms of safety under false claims of security will need to reevaluate their priorities and either upgrade or settle with the low-quality gradation by the UL and bear the consequences of it too.

Conclusion

With the adoption of IoT security ratings, the Internet of Things industry and associated devices, manufacturers and beneficiaries, all will have access to open information and be able to tell the safe options from the unsafe ones.

The introduction and implementation of IoT security ratings from the UL global security certification organization has not only put end-users in a safe spot and helped them in making wiser choices but also encouraged manufacturers to upgrade their products in terms of security features while reducing the risks of frauds.