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Forecast spotlight: What the rise of IoT means for future data breaches

The Internet of Things (IoT) is no longer a futuristic concept. It’s our reality, and with devices dropping in price and growing in availability, the IoT has already made its way into many aspects of how we live and work. Recent data suggests this trend is only going to continue to grow: the number of devices per household is expected to jump from 10 to 50 by 2022. By 2025, the IoT market is predicted to see anywhere from 25 to 50 billion IoT devices.

This skyrocketing growth isn’t limited to consumer devices. Organizations across various sectors are increasingly relying on connected devices to streamline daily operational activities. The rise of connected devices in the manufacturing and industrial sectors has seen the advent of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), bringing the operational and IT worlds closer together.

In our 2018 Data Breach Industry Forecast, we analyze why the rise of the IoT is one of the greatest challenges facing the cybersecurity industry today. Some of the main concerns: the lack of critical security features and the interconnectedness of IoT products make them extremely attractive to cybercriminals, and while developers and companies compete to go-to-market, they often neglect security measures, leaving the door wide open for attack.

Last year we saw an IoT hack take advantage of insecure smart home devices and shut down several major websites such as Amazon, PayPal and Twitter. This attack targeted a domain name system (DNS) provider, Dyn. The company identified the Mirai Botnet, a malware targeting consumer IoT-connected devices such as webcams and printers, as the attacker.

The Mirai attack is just one example of how connected devices, as inconsequential as they may seem (think IoT-enabled refrigerators), can lead to serious security concerns. While government agencies like the Federal Trade Commission are taking steps to protect consumers, it’s vital for organizations to consider IoT vulnerabilities and include these specific risks in their data breach response plans. The interconnectedness and convenience of the IoT are part of what makes it so appealing to consumers and organizations alike. However, it takes just one susceptible connected device to grant cybercriminals access to an entire network.

For more on how the IoT will disrupt the 2018 threat landscape and tips to mitigate threat, download our 2018 Data Breach Industry Forecast.