IoT Security Concerns for Quality Assurance Teams
The Internet of Things has been touted as the latest potential trend, but the fact is that the IoT is already here and is impacting businesses and consumers everywhere. Any object that is Internet-enabled and has machine-to-machine communication capabilities is part of the IoT—including smartphones, cars, and fridges. In addition to the typical Internet-related security concerns, applications are being made specifically for these devices, all of which bring about additional security concerns that quality assurance teams need to consider.
Lack of Standardization
Since the IoT is still relatively new, organizations have been slow to set standards. However, as more consumers look to become connected, businesses must ensure that their IoT products and services are secure. According to a recent Kelley Blue Book survey, not only are consumers unaware of and unconcerned about the security threat to connected cars, but a majority believe that manufacturers need to offer software to protect their vehicles. Unfortunately, the report also showed that companies are failing to implement common security measures into their IoT devices and services, making them viable targets for hackers. QA teams must ensure that the software lives up to industry expectations and that ample protections are in place to prevent unique IoT vulnerabilities.
Information is king for any business, and some data is critical for survival. With devices and sensors communicating across the board, more data than ever is being generated, and QA management must ensure that this information is protected. Many IoT devices are missing data encryption capabilities and have lax password requirements. This means that practically anyone can hack into your hardware and see your information. If the attacker has direct access to the device, they may not even have to break in to steal your data. These gaping holes in security should concern every QA team and must be accounted for when creating and testing for application functionality.
Continuous Testing and Review
The IoT is not going anywhere. In fact, it's only predicted to become a stronger force in the near future. For this reason, it will be critical for QA teams to use agile testing methodologies to help constantly reinforce app security. Information Age contributor Chloe Green noted that you'll need to prioritize code review and repeat analysis in order to reduce overall risk. It will be critical to review updates and new deployments to ensure they are thoroughly tested instead of allowing these patches to fly under the radar.
"Implementing a software quality assurance benchmark on the software that interacts with IoT devices will become a standard operating practice," Green wrote. "Thanks to the complexity of IoT, if the software and its patches aren't continuously monitored and the code evaluated, this almost certainly guarantees failure."
QA teams have a lot of challenges ahead of them with the rise of the IoT. By understanding what security risks the trend poses, QA professionals will be able to implement better safeguards across projects and better protect consumers from cyber attacks.