Internet of Things (IoT) Applications and Security Challenges: A Review

DOI : 10.17577/IJERTCONV7IS12028

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Internet of Things (IoT) Applications and Security Challenges: A Review

Mohit Kumar Saini1

1Department of Computer Application, Doon Business School, Dehradun Uttrakhand, India

Rakesh Kumar Saini2

2Department of Computer Application, DIT University, Dehradun

Uttrakhand, India

Abstract-The Internet of Things (IoT) revolutionized the global network comprising of people, smart devices, intelligent objects, information, and data. It is no secret that as more and more devices connect to the internet, the challenges of securing the data that they transmit and the communications that they initiate are becoming more profound. Over the years, we have seen a surge in IoT devices, broadly in 2 areas in homes and in manufacturing. With the former, we have seen an entire ecosystem built around Amazon's Echo devices using the Alexa Voice Service. Google, Microsoft, and Apple have followed suit as well. Since these are independent and closed platforms, the responsibilities of securing the devices rest with the platform providers. In this paper, we highlights cyber security in manufacturing and related industries. Industries such as manufacturing, oil & gas, refining, pharmaceuticals, food & beverage, water treatment, and many more are constantly looking to add the right layers of security, as they bring an increasing number of equipment and devices online. Device manufacturers and plant operations managers constantly face pressure to protect their physical assets from cyber threats. Moreover, for each of these industries, the nature of the data, topologies of IoT devices, and complexities of threat management and ensuring compliance vary widely.

Keywords– Internet of Things, Cyber-attack, Security threats.


    The recent rapid development of the Internet of Things (IoT) and its ability to offer different types of services have made it the fastest growing technology, with huge impact on social life and business environments. Internet of Things (IoT) devices are rapidly becoming ubiquitous while IoT services are becoming pervasive. Their success has not gone unnoticed and the number of threats and attacks against IoT devices and services are on the increase as well.

    The Internet of Things (IoT) is an idea that could radically alter our relationship with technology. The promise of a world in which all of the electronic devices around us are part of a single, interconnected network was once a thing of science fiction. But IoT has not only entered the world of nonfiction; its taking the world by storm. IoT devices are no longer a niche market. They have started to move from our workspaces into our (smart) homes, where IoT devices are expected to have the most significant impact on our daily lives. Most smart home devices will be benign, everyday appliances like kettles and toasters. Even if these devices are hacked and compromised, short of ruining your

    breakfast, theres not a lot a hacker can do to cause you grief. The market is currently focusing on the vertical domains of IoT since it is in relatively early phases of development. But IoT cannot be treated as a single thing, or single platform, or even a single technology. In order to achieve the expected rapid growth from IoT opportunities, more focus needs to be put on interfaces, platforms, mobile applications and common/dominant standards [1][2].

    IoT in the education sector has already started to make the conventional education system more automated interactive smart classrooms are helping students learn and participate more, whilst automatic attendance and various student tracking systems could help to make schools more secure. Internet-enabled remote classrooms will be a milestone for developing countries, making deep penetration in areas where setting up a traditional school infrastructure is not possible. Internet-enabled manufacturing and industrial units are giving differentiating results, making them safer and more efficient through automated process controls. Plant and energy optimization, health and safety control and security management are now increasingly being provided by advanced sensors, networked with sophisticated microcomputers [3][4]. Financial services are already leveraging the internet for many of their services. Exponential improvement in digital infrastructure and the next generation of IoT enabled products could further lead the growth of the financial sector, with innovations, such as smart wearable and smart monitoring devices, helping customers to keep better track of their money and investments. Telcos could face a surge in data usage due to IoT-enabled devices, thus raising their ARPU (average revenue per user), while on the other hand, they will also have to deal with some concerns, such as privacy and infrastructure security. While the possibilities of these new technologies are mind-boggling, they also reveal severe IoT cybersecurity challenges. During the last few years, weve seen a dramatic increase in the number and the sophistication of attacks targeting IoT devices. The interconnectivity of people, devices and organizations in todays digital world, opens up a whole new playing field of vulnerabilities access points where the cyber criminals can get in. The overall risk landscape of the organization is only a part of a potentially contradictory and opaque universe of actual and potential threats that all too often come from completely unexpected and

    unforeseen threat actors, which can have an escalating effect. In this paper discussed various security challenges in IOT. The main contribution of this paper is to provide an overview of the current state of IoT security challenges [5].


    The internet of things, or IoT, is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to- computer interaction A thing in the internet of things can be a person with a heart monitor implant, a farm animal with a biochip transponder, an automobile that has built- in sensors to alert the driver when tire pressure is low or any other natural or man-made object that can be assigned an IP address and is able to transfer data over a network[6][7].

    Increasingly, organizations in a variety of industries are using IoT to operate more efficiently, better understand customers to deliver enhanced customer service, improve decision-making and increase the value of the business [9].

    The internet of things (IoT) is a computing concept that describes the idea of everyday physical objects being connected to the internet and being able to identify themselves to other devices. The term is closely identified with RFID as the method of communication, although it also may include other sensor technologies, wireless technologies or QR codes.



    Some most popular characteristics of Internet of things are:

    1. Intelligence

    2. Connectivity

    3. Dynamic Nature

    4. Enormous scale

    5. Sensing

    6. Heterogeneity

    7. Security

    1. Intelligence

      IoT comes with the combination of algorithms and computation, software & hardware that makes it smart. Ambient intelligence in IoT enhances its capabilities which facilitate the things to respond in an intelligent way to a particular situation and supports them in carrying out specific tasks. In spite of all the popularity f smart technologies, intelligence in IoT is only concerned as means of interaction between devices, while user and device interaction is achieved by standard input methods and graphical user interface [8].

      Together algorithms and compute (i.e. software & hardware) provide the intelligent spark that makes a

      product experience smart. Consider Misfit Shine, a fitness tracker, compared to Nests intelligent thermostat. The Shine experience distributes compute tasks between a smartphone and the cloud. The Nest thermostat has more compute horsepower for the AI that make them smart.

    2. Connectivity

      Connectivity empowers Internet of Things by bringing together everyday objects. Connectivity of these objects is pivotal because simple object level interactions contribute towards collective intelligence in IoT network. It enables network accessibility and compatibility in the things. With this connectivity, new market opportunities for Internet of things can be created by the networking of smart things and applications. Connectivity in the IoT is more than slapping on a WiFi module and calling it a day. Connectivity enables network accessibility and compatibility. Accessibility is getting on a network while compatibility provides the common ability to consume and produce data. If this sounds familiar, thats because it is Metcalfes Law and it rings true for IoT [10].

    3. Dynamic Nature

      The primary activity of Internet of Things is to collect data from its environment, this is achieved with the dynamic changes that take place around the devices. The state of these devices change dynamically, example sleeping and waking up, connected and/or disconnected as well as the context of devices including temperature, location and speed. In addition to the state of the device, the number of devices also changes dynamically with a person, place and time.

      The state of devices change dynamically, e.g., sleeping and waking up, connected and/or disconnected as well as the context of devices including location and speed. Moreover, the number of devices can change dynamically [11].

    4. Enormous scale

      The number of devices that need to be managed and that communicate with each other will be much larger than the devices connected to the current Internet. The management of data generated from these devices and their interpretation for application purposes becomes more critical. Gartner (2015) confirms the enormous scale of IoT in the estimated report where it stated that 5.5 million new things will get connected every day and 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, which is up by 30 percent from 2015. The report also forecasts that the number of connected devices will reach 20.8 billion by 2020.

      The number of devices that need to be managed and that communicate with each other will be at least an order of magnitude larger than the devices connected to the current Internet. Even more critical will be the management of the data generated and their interpretation for application purposes. This relates to semantics of data, as well as efficient data handling.

    5. Sensing

      IoT wouldnt be possible without sensors which will detect or measure any changes in the environment to generate data that can report on their status or even interact with the environment. Sensing technologies provide the means to create capabilities that reflect a true awareness of the physical world and the people in it. The sensing information is simply the analogue input from the physical world, but it can provide the rich understanding of our complex world [12] [13].

      We tend to take for granted our senses and ability to understand the physical world and people around us. Sensing technologies provide us with the means to create experiences that reflect a true awareness of the physical world and the people in it. This is simply the analog input from the physical world, but it can provide rich understanding of our complex world.

    6. Heterogeneity

      Heterogeneity in Internet of Things as one of the key characteristics. Devices in IoT are based on different hardware platforms and networks and can interact with other devices or service platforms through different networks. IoT architecture should support direct network connectivity between heterogeneous networks. The key design requirements for heterogeneous things and their environments in IoT are scalabilities, modularity, extensibility and interoperability. The devices in the IoT are heterogeneous as based on different hardware platforms and networks. They can interact with other devices or service platforms through different networks [14].

    7. Security

    IoT devices are naturally vulnerable to security threats. As we gain efficiencies, novel experiences, and other benefits from the IoT, it would be a mistake to forget about security concerns associated with it. There is a high level of transparency and privacy issues with IoT. It is important to secure the endpoints, the networks, and the data that is transferred across all of it means creating a security paradigm.


    Some useful applications of Internet of Things (IOT) are:

    1. Connected Health

    2. Smart City

    3. Connected Cars

    4. Smart Home

    5. Smart Farming

    6. Smart Retail

    7. Smart Supply Chain

    1. Connected Health (Digital Health/Tele health/Telemedicine)

      IoT has various applications in healthcare, which are from remote monitoring equipment to advance & smart sensors to equipment integration. It has the potential to improve how physicians deliver care and also keep patients safe and healthy. Healthcare IoT can allow patients to spend more time interacting with their doctors by which it can boost patient engagement and satisfaction. From personal fitness sensors to surgical robots, IoT in healthcare brings new tools updated with the latest technology in the ecosystem that helps in developing better healthcare. IoT helps in revolutionizing healthcare and provides pocket-friendly solutions for the patient and healthcare professional [15][16].

      Figure 1: Connected Health

      Connected healthcare yet remains the sleeping giant of the Internet of Things applications. The concept of connected healthcare system and smart medical devices bears enormous potential not just for companies, but also for the well-being of people in general. Research shows IoT in healthcare will be massive in coming years. IoT in healthcare is aimed at empowering people to live healthier life by wearing connected devices. The collected data will help in personalized analysis of an individuals health and provide tailor made strategies to combat illness. The video below explains how IoT can revolutionize treatment and medical help.

    2. Smart City

      Smart city is another powerful application of IoT generating curiosity among worlds population. Smart surveillance, smarter energy management systems, automated transportation, water distribution, urban security and environmental monitoring all are examples of internet of things applications for smart cities. IoT will solve major problems faced by the people living in cities like pollution, traffic congestion and shortage of energy supplies etc. Products like cellular communication enabled Smart Belly trash will send alerts to municipal services when a bin needs to be emptied [17].

      Figure 2: Smart City

      By installing sensors and using web applications, citizens can find free available parking slots across the city. Also, the sensors can detect meter tampering issues, general malfunctions and any installation issues in the electricity system.

    3. Connected Cars

      The automotive digital technology has focused on optimizing vehicles internal functions. But now, this attention is growing towards enhancing the in-car experience. A connected car is a vehicle which is able to otimize its own operation, maintenance as well as comfort of passengers using onboard sensors and internet connectivity. Most large auto makers as well as some brave startups are working on connected car solutions. Major brands like Tesla, BMW, Apple, and Google are working on bringing the next revolution in automobiles [18].

      Figure 3: Connected Cars

      Connected car technology is a vast and an extensive network of multiple sensors, antennas, embedded software, and technologies that assist in communication to navigate in our complex world. It has the responsibility of making decisions with consistency, accuracy, and speed. It also has to be reliable. These requirements will become even more critical when humans give up entirely the control of the steering wheel and brakes to the autonomous or automated

      vehicles that are being successfully tested on our highways right now.

    4. Smart Home

      Smart Home has become the revolutionary ladder of success in the residential spaces and it is predicted Smart homes will become as common as smartphones Whenever we think of IoT systems, the most important and efficient application that stands out every time is Smart Home ranking as highest IOT application on all channels. The estimated amount of funding for Smart Home startups exceeds $2.5bn and is ever growing. Wouldnt you love if you could switch on air conditioning before reaching home or switch off lights even after you have left home? Or unlock the doors to friends for temporary access even when you are not at home. Dont be surprised with IoT taking shape companies are building products to make your life simpler and convenient [11].

      Figure 4: Smart Home

      The cost of owning a house is the biggest expense in a homeowners life. Smart Home products are promised to save time, energy and money. With Smart home companies like Nest, Ecobee, Ring and August, to name a few, will become household brands and are planning to deliver a never seen before experience [19].

    5. Smart Farming

      Smart farming is an often overlooked IoT application. However, because the number of farming operations is usually remote and the large number of livestock that farmers work on, all of this can be monitored by the Internet of Things and can also revolutionize the way farmers work. But this idea is yet to reach a large-scale attention. Nevertheless, it still remains to be one of the IoT applications that should not be underestimated. Smart farming has the potential to become an important application field specifically in the agricultural-product exporting countries.

      Figure 5: Smart Farming

    6. Smart Retail

      Retailers have started adopting IoT solutions and using IoT embedded systems across a number of applications that improve store operations such as increasing purchases, reducing theft, enabling inventory management, and enhancing the consumers shopping experience. Through IoT physical retailers can compete against online challengers more strongly. They can regain their lost market share and attract consumers into the store, thus making it easier for them to buy more while saving money [20].

      Figure 6: Smart Farming

      The potential of IoT in the retail sector is enormous. IoT provides an opportunity to retailers to connect with the customers to enhance the in-store experience. Smartphones will be the way for retailers to remain connected with their consumers even out of store. Interacting through Smartphones and using Beacon technology can help retailers serve their consumers better. They can also track consumers path through a store and improve store layout and place premium products in high traffic areas [17].

    7. Smart Supply Chain

    Supply chains have already been getting smarter for a couple of years. Offering solutions to problems like tracking of goods while they are on the road or in transit, or helping suppliers exchange inventory information are some of the popular offerings. With an IoT enabled system,

    factory equipment that contains embedded sensors communicate data about different parameters such as pressure, temperature, and utilization of the machine. The IoT system can also process workflow and change equipment settings to optimize performance [21].

    Figure 7: Smart Supply Chain


    IoT security is the protection of Internet of Things devices from attack. While many business owners are aware that they need to protect computers and phones with antivirus, the security risks related to IoT devices are less well known and their protection is too often neglected.

    Internet of Things devices are everywhere. From cars and fridges to monitoring devices on assembly lines, objects around us are increasingly being connected to the internet. The speed at which the IoT market is growing is staggering

    – Juniper research estimates that the number of IoT sensors and devices is set to exceed 50 billion by 2022.While consumer IoT devices allow lifestyle benefits, businesses are quickly adopting IoT devices due to high potential for savings. For example, after Harley-Davidson turned their York, Pennsylvania plant to a smart factory using IoT devices in every step of the production process, they reduced costs by 7% and increased net margin by 19%.

    1. Data Integrity

      Billions of devices come under the umbrella of an interlinked ecosystem that is connected through IoT. Manipulating even a single data point will result in manipulation of the entire data which is exchanged and shared back and forth from the sensor to the main server. Decentralized distributed ledger and digital signatures should be implemented in order to ensure integrity [24].

    2. Encryption Capabilities

      Data encryption and decryption is a continuous process. The IoT networks sensors still lack the capability to process. The brute force attempts can be prevented by firewalls and segregating the devices into separate networks.

    3. Privacy Issues

      IoT is all about the exchange of data among various platforms, devices, and consumers. The smart devices gather data for a number of reasons, like, improving efficiency and experience, decision making, providing better service, etc.; thus, the end point of data shall be completely secured and safeguarded.

    4. Common Framework

      There is an absence of a common framework and so all the manufacturers have to manage the security and retain the privacy on their own. Once a common standardized framework is implemented, the individual efforts will then collectively be utilized in an expandable manner and so reusability of code can be achieved [23].


The IoT framework is vulnerable to attacks at each layer. Therefore, there are many security threats and requirements that need to be dispatched. Current state of research in IoT is mainly concentrated on authentication and access control protocols, but with the rapid growth of technology it is essential to consolidate new networking protocols like IPv6 and 5G to achieve the progressive mash up of IoT topology The main emphasis of this chapter was to highlight major security issues of IoT particularly, focusing the security attacks and their countermeasures. Due to lack of security mechanism in IoT devices, many IoT devices become soft targets and even this is not in the victims knowledge of being infected. In this chapter, the security requirements are discussed such as confidentiality, integrity, and authentication, etc. In this paper, different applications of IOT are discussed. We hope this paper will be useful to researchers in the security field by helping identify the major issues in IoT security and providing better understanding of the threats and their attributes originating from various intruders like organizations and intelligence agencies.


This Research paper is original and not published in any conferences or in any journal.

Figure 8: Security Challenges Facng IoT

  1. Automation

    Eventually, enterprises will have to deal with more and more number of IoT devices. This enormous amount of user data can be difficult to manage. The fact cannot be denied that it requires a single error or trespassing a single algorithm to bring down the entire infrastructure of the data [22].

  2. Updations

Managing the update of millions of devices needs to be adhered to, respectively. Not all the devices support over the air update and hence it requires manually updating the devices. One will need to keep a track of the available updates and apply the same to all the varied devices. This process becomes time-consuming and complicated and if any mistake happens in the process than this shall lead to loopholes in the security later. Security Investment in securing infrastructure and network should be the first priority, which is not the case now. IoT involves the use of millions of data points and each point should be secured. Indeed, the need is for the multi-layer security, i.e., security at each and every level. From end-point devices, cloud platforms, embedded software to web and mobile applications that leverage IoT (Internet of Things), each layer should be security intact. With the set of heterogeneous devices, security becomes complex.


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