Internet of Things:The new home of cybercrime

October 20, 2015

I have been researching on Cyber crime for more than ten years and over the years I’ve witnessed changing threats coming every now and then.According to latest estimate by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a well known global think-tank, the cost to the global economy of online industrial espionage stands at US$445billion annually.This will worsen when businesses already grappling with Cyber crime will start facing the challenges brought about by the The Internet of Things. Known as Internet of Things, it is already offering advanced connectivity of devices, systems, and services that goes beyond machine-to-machine communications such as interconnection of embedded devices that includes but not limited to smart objects. Internet of Things is turning to be pervasive in every aspect of our daily lives from smart home and office automation, security and surveillance, transportation and even healthcare through telemedicine and embedded devices. As our workplaces and lives become more connected and intertwined, Internet of Things can only grow more entrenched. Multiple Industries as a whole are benefiting from the efficiencies of Internet of Things ranging from more efficient supply chain management to real-time response to market intelligence.While Internet of Things have ushered in automation in unprecedented number of fields, the implications on cybersecurity are certainly plenty. As it is, the transition from closed networks to enterprise IT networks to the public Internet is accelerating at an unimaginable rate.Without shadow of doubt, all devices and their data need to be secured as cybercriminals will target every device to hack into. Indeed, the security challenges for Internet of Thing are already daunting and can only get worse.

In the last ten years,online attacks have increased dramatically, exposing sensitive personal and business information, disrupting critical operations, and imposing high costs on the global economy.For countries to make themselves safer places to do business, they must derive solutions to secure critical information infrastructure, tame rising costs to business from cybercrime, theft of financial data and intellectual property.Cyberspace is critical to any country economic prosperity and national security.Countries must embrace the global digital revolution, it is imperative that they protect their cyberspace.Primary role of cyber security divisions almost all countries are creating is to secure the backbone of information and telecommunication infrastructures.As such, they seek to address the risks which comprised the networked information systems of critical sectors like banking and finance, food, national security,energy, information and communications, water, transportation, health, government, emergency services among others.In some European countries, Cyber crime agencies are also expected to address the emerging issue of cyber threats which poses serious challenges to the economic well-being and security of the country.They also maintains portals like the one set up Australian Federal Police which the members of critical infrastructure work together by sharing information on security issues which affect critical infrastructure. CyberSecurity agencies in European Union member states have taken crucial steps in establishing cross-border collaboration with regional cybersecurity agencies. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed among member states to strengthen cooperative assistance in the fields of capacity building and professional development in the area of digital forensic.

In East Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda have also signed a multi-national agencies memorandum to establish cooperation in the field of digital and cyber forensic research and collaboration on exchange of information.The increasing dependence on technology and connectivity makes the protection of connectivity a critical issue for all businesses.Countries need to look at organisation information security methodology from a holistic perspective and promote the adoption of Information Security Management Systems that includes policies, processes, procedures, organisational structures and software and hardware functions, a systematic and structured approach to managing information to ensure its secure. To have holistic cybersecurity mind set in the era of Internet of Things, countries must focus on technology, the people and process. At the end of the day, it’s the people that harness the power of technology ensuring other citizens are ready and aware of the risks and implications of Information and Technology security. Processes need to be constantly reviewed to take into account emerging security threats that develop every day. It is therefore crucial for businesses to look at adopting best practices. In Africa, especially in Sub saharan Africa, need to review their technology capabilities in order to have the most advance and innovative defence strategies ready in the event of a breach. Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility and each country must all play a critical role in making sure its cyberspace is secure, safer and resilient.Countries need to be vigilant as cyberattacks can strike any given time.Securing cyberspace is both a matter of national security and a definition of a country competitive advantage in the World economy.

Contador Harrison