The Internet of Things for Cybersecurity Professionals

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a large network of data transmitted by sensors, software, or devices. Objects, people, and even animals all make up the complex web of “things,” contributing to the collection and integration of data for analytical purposes. 

The physical and digital worlds are blended through the Internet of Things. This connectivity is integrated into our everyday lives, from making toast with a smart toaster to driving your Bluetooth-enabled car to the grocery store.

This wide-scale digital sharing comes with significant privacy risks. Connecting any device to a network can leave it vulnerable to cyber attacks, which can expose sensitive data and information to malicious third parties. Cybersecurity professionals are critical for the seamless functioning of the IoT and devices connected to it.

Image of the world lit up at central hubs, signifying the large-scale exchange of information using IoT.

IoT and Cybersecurity

The interconnectivity of the IoT enables the rapid and seamless exchange of data, but that same connection means a hacker can disrupt more than just a single device at one time. Instead of targeting one source, malicious individuals or companies can expand the scope of their attack to exploit an entire network.

Cybersecurity professionals play the role of identifying and testing vulnerabilities of a network to keep the data within it secure. They apply IoT security controls and ensure devices are insulated from Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, which have the potential to incapacitate entire organizations for significant amounts of time.

Due to an exponential increase in DDoS attacks in recent years, the demand for increased cybersecurity measures to protect against these threats is higher than ever. IoT devices and the users and organizations that use them need trained cybersecurity professionals to identify security weaknesses, monitor IoT devices, and defend against malicious threats.

IoT Security Risks

One of the major cybersecurity challenges the IoT faces is the lack of foresight in the security design of devices connected to the internet. The data that is collected when using a device or software needs to be encrypted at the very least in order to protect the user, but many IoT devices were not built with this in mind and are easily exploited in cyber attacks.

To put this IoT security issue into perspective, a vulnerable smart device is not the same as leaving the front door of your home unlocked. It is like not having a front door at all.

Even IoT devices that are built with security measures come with risks. Companies could also have a stake in selling the data collected by their smart devices. While the thought of a company knowing how long you brush your teeth with your smart toothbrush might seem low-risk, that data can be combined with other information collected about you and add up quickly. The more smart devices you integrate into your life, the more detailed your consumer profile becomes.

The market for IoT devices is growing at an incredible rate, projected to reach $1.5 trillion by 2030. This is a staggering 600% growth from 2019. Increasing in lockstep with IoT device usage is the number of threats these smart objects face: there were 1.51 billion breaches in the first half of 2021. Compared to the 639 million IoT attacks in the entire year of 2020, it’s clear this significant issue is only going to grow.

Image of a smart home device connected to the Internet of Things through an app on a mobile phone.

Internet of Things Examples

IoT Devices

Devices connected to the IoT have become a big part of life for many people due to their accessibility and the positive impact they have on quality of life. Despite significant security risks, there are many advantages to having a smart device in your home or even on your wrist. Automation and control using connected devices can save you time and money in the long run, and some of this technology can even keep you and your home safe.

  • Google Home
  • Apple AirTag
  • Amazon Echo
  • Ring Doorbell
  • Nest Smoke Alarm

IoT in the Crypto Space

Cryptocurrency is a decentralized payment system using digital or virtual currency. This system enables individuals to send and receive payments directly, without the regulation of authorities or banks. To complete these digital exchanges, cryptocurrency requires complex encryption to verify transactions and transmit data. The purpose of this extensive encryption is to provide security and privacy, so naturally, it has become a prime target for malicious cyber threats and hackers.

The cryptocurrency market is continuously evolving: blockchain development, new currencies, and even civil and criminal court cases attempting to define language in the ambiguity of this unregulated industry. As cryptocurrency and blockchain continue to expand, the need for cybersecurity professionals is growing alongside it to protect the digital assets of users and organizations.

Cybersecurity Jobs Related to IoT (and Their Salaries)

There is no shortage of cybersecurity jobs. The demand for cyber experts is growing faster than companies can hire. Between 2013 and 2021, the number of unfilled cybersecurity positions exploded by 350% and shows no signs of slowing.

Employers need skilled cybersecurity professionals at every stage, including the entry-level. Below are just a few of the roles that are in demand to fulfill IoT security needs, including their average national salary at the entry-level:

Penetration Tester: $84,000

  • This role uses tools to identify vulnerabilities in an organization’s network in order to test and break into it. By breaching computer and network security systems, penetration testers are able to identify areas where a company’s network needs to be reinforced with updated protocols.

Cryptography Analyst: $77,000

  • Cryptography is the practice of techniques used to secure communication and data. This role focuses on developing algorithms, ciphers, and security systems to encrypt sensitive data, so it is insulated from malicious third-party access.

Cybersecurity Analyst: $73,000

  • This role monitors company infrastructure for threats and vulnerabilities. The priority of this position is to protect company hardware, software, and networks from cyber attacks looking to exploit weaknesses to gain sensitive information, data, or even total access to the network.

Security Architect: $59,000

  • This position designs, builds, tests, and implements security solutions for their company. It includes assessing the company networks and computer systems for strengths and weaknesses, conducting risk analyses, and ethically hacking local and virtual private networks.
Image of a Raspberry Pi board, a dynamic computer capable of connecting to the Internet of Things to transmit data.

Join the Pros Defending the IoT

As the use of IoT devices by consumers and organizations grows, so does the need to safeguard the sensitive data transmitted by these smart objects. The world needs professionals with cybersecurity knowledge and hands-on experience, and the Kansas State University Cybersecurity Bootcamp is designed to equip you with the training necessary to enter this in-demand field.

Courses are taught on an evening and weekend basis, giving you the flexibility needed for the other commitments in your life. Learn network security fundamentals, computer networking, ethical hacking and more from industry experts, and in just 10 months, have the cybersecurity training and skills employers want.

Fill out the form below to schedule a call with our career consultants. While you wait for your call, explore our free course, Hack Into Cybersecurity. See for yourself how our live and online learning environment is geared for practical training on industry-standard tools.

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