Posted: 3 Min ReadExpert Perspectives

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

Opportunities and challenges with Internet of Things (IoT) and why you need Threat Intelligence

Over a decade ago when the first iPhone was released in June 2007, cyber security received very little attention in the news. According to the Internet World Stats, which tracks the history and growth of Internet—fewer than 1.2 billion people or 17.8% of the population at the time—were using the Internet.  In just a decade that number has dramatically increased to 4.15 billion users, roughly 55% of the world population. However, this the growth of Internet and the number of devices connected to the Internet is accompanied by its own security and privacy challenges.

Today, we are living in the age of a digital revolution, which many experts refer to as the fourth industrial revolution. The first industrial revolution used water and steam to power for mechanized production. Electricity brought about the second industrial revolution enabling mass production. Electronics and information technology facilitated automation, which was the third industrial revolution. The fourth industrial revolution is a digital revolution building on the preceding one, which started in the latter part of the 20th century.

The irreversible integration of technology into our work and play has made it an integral part of our lives. The digital growth and transformation are on such scale, scope, and complexity that is unlike anything else we have ever experienced before.

In 2017, IoT devices increased 31% to 8.4 billion from the previous year. The exponential growth is expected to continue and reach over 20 billion devices by 2020 and one trillion devices by 2035. This is only the early stage of the IoT implementation.

IoT-compatible devices have dramatically improved the lives of consumers and increased businesses productivity. Consumers have been using IoT-compatible devices as part of their everyday lives —from home automation devices such as, Amazon Echo and Ring doorbell to a variety of healthcare and fitness devices such as those sold by, Fitbit, and Garmin.

Businesses have also been using IoT and IoT-compatible devices (e.g. Awarepoint, Aptomar and CargoSense) to streamline the manufacturing process, track and analyze shipments, meet consumer needs and services, and improve overall productivity. Retailers for instance, employ IoT to analyze consumer interactions with products in the retail environment. Manufacturers use IoT to improve how machines and robotics operate and communicate with one another. The healthcare industry applications of IoT are numerous and include anything from remote monitoring to the medical device integration using smart sensors.

The Internet of Things, however, also presents major challenges. Security and privacy are the greatest challenge and cause for major concerns. In recent years, hackers have proven how private data on any device that is connected to the Internet is vulnerable and susceptible to malicious attacks, compromise, tampering, theft, and misuse.

How Can Threat Intelligence Help?

As threat actors make their next moves to exploit new and emerging technologies, organizations must rely on Threat Intelligence services to fully understand the risks of further integration of IoT devices into their homes and businesses. Technical Threat Intelligence that includes indicators of compromise like malicious IP and URLs can provide some insight into the threats but lack broader context of the innovations of the hackers which are redefining the threat landscape as a whole. This is because while at first glance, you might think that techniques used in threat intelligence to gather information do not apply to protecting IoT devices from malware and threat actors. But in fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

Threat intelligence provides organizations with predictions of imminent threats and potential threat indicators, tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) based on analysis of the cyber threat landscape. It highlights potential risks to an organization and provides enterprises with solutions to mitigate potential threats posed by cyber crime and cyber espionage actors.

Threat intelligence enables customers to make informed and strategic business decisions. DeepSight’s Adversary Intelligence has helped numerous customers make such decisions where they leveraged our analysis and actionable and anticipatory intelligence to determine adversaries’ capabilities, and their end goals; as a result, they were able to take the correct actions and countermeasures.

IoT devices have changed the cyber security landscape by exponentially increasing the amount of available data that is useful to understand cyber threats. The Managed Adversary Threat Intelligence (MATI) team analyzes these large data sets from IoT devices around the world and identifies relevant threat for our customers. We offer our customer-specific intelligence based on their industry and provide specific insights to potential cyber risks, which enables our customers to make informed decisions in their security posture relative to new and emerging threats.

About the Author

Symantec DeepSight Adversary Intelligence Team

Managed Adversary and Threat Intelligence (MATI)

Symantec’s managed adversary and threat intelligence (MATI) team of intelligence analysts & researchers are dedicated to understanding the adversary ecosystem and providing insightful customer reports detailing their plans, tactics, tools, and campaigns.

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