IoT networks are particularly vulnerable to attacks and long-term functionality issues. There are several reasons why.
One reason is that some IoT devices, such as ones handling machine learning and other complex computations, need all the memory and computing power that they can get, leaving little to no room for security software.
Additionally, many IoT developers concern themselves with developing hardware that will support the functions the device will be running and leave software and security concerns up to the third parties who write the code for the devices. Third-party programmers may not add security measures at all nor provide the frequent updates required to keep devices up to date.
Unsecured and widely deployed third-party code could introduce severe security gaps if developers aren’t paying close attention.
IoT devices that are not secured give malicious attackers an open door to them. And, the changing nature of IoT means that devices require regular updates to perform the way users want and expect them to.
Obviously, IoT developers need to take ownership of the third-party code that runs on their devices and implement their own security measures. Here are a few best practices that IoT developers can follow to make sure third-party code provides adequate protection, longevity, and functionality for their devices.
Take third-party code under consideration during all stages of the development process.
The potential impacts of third-party code should be under constant review, during all phases: as IoT developers come up with the hardware requirements for their devices, design a user interface, create a system to evaluate security risks and compliance to regulations, or perform any other major step during development.
After a device has been deployed, developers will need to monitor for changes and updates to code that could affect the function and security of their devices.
Make devices easy to update.
IoT developers can no longer just release a product and then forget about it and move on to the next project. Today’s customers expect to be able to connect their devices to new and changing networks, receive frequent software and firmware updates as necessary, and have any bugs fixed within a reasonable amount of time.
Building in a convenient way to push these updates to deployed devices is a vital part of IoT development. Just as important is the ability to monitor the health of deployed devices and how any software changes are affecting performance and security.
Understand the third-party code at a deep level.
After devices are deployed, it will be up to the IoT developers to code and send updates. It isn’t enough to rely on third parties to make sure devices remain functional.
Your IoT engineers will want to learn the code used on their devices as thoroughly as possible. They will need to understand what effects the code may have on devices, how to fix bugs when they crop up, and what to do if the third party stops creating software.