M2M security, and the integrity of modern industry 

M2M security

Between smart home security systems, intelligent factories becoming mainstream, remote equipment management and data enabled smart cities, the IoT market is on a steep rise. With the increased use of machine-to-machine, or M2M, communication comes the concern for M2M security. 

Connected devices are generally not the first thing to come to mind when thinking of major cyber-attacks. There is no big money to be made from it such as selling user data or ransoming a company’s information.  

But attacks do happen. 

No one is worried about their smart toaster turning against them, or the TV and fridge conspiring to make life miserable, but the lack of apparent motive or benefit is no reason to neglect security.  

M2M communication systems, unlike SCADA or other remote monitoring tools, use public networks such as Ethernet and cellular networks to do their work as it is more cost effective. 

That means that anywhere in the world connected to the internet, essentially anywhere under the sun, can be a point of attack. 

Given the increasing extent of IoT applications, the need for proper, robust M2M security is paramount for companies that do not wish their business disrupted. 

Warehouse management, logistics, fleet, and supply chain management chief among M2M applications that will continue to see increased adoption over the years. Those are only two use cases. 

Manufacturing, remote monitoring, robotics, billing and fintech, security, automotive, traffic control, utilities sector, industrial sector, smart city management, and telemedicine. These make up a large portion of IoT applications and will only find a deeper footing in the modern world as time goes on. 

So, what are the best practices in M2M security? The answer is preparation.  

Security experts must work to translate the security demands to both the component supplier and IoT service provider that would make a successful attack much harder to achieve. In other words, in these cases it is often best to make the attack as costly for the attacker as possible and have time to chip away at their will to succeed. 

This preparation should happen before any infrastructure or system is implemented. When putting together a smart factory, the consultations around the production workflow, component acquisition, and protocols should happen only after the M2M security concerns have been addressed. This would include making vital control panels and components as physically inaccessible to unauthorized personnel as possible.  

In a digital first world, it makes perfect sense that digital security be among the foundations of any project, and now it goes for software, hardware, and machine to machine security and communications.