In the recent days Internet of Things (IoT) has a pivotal influence on multiple sectors and would lead to the dawn of an unprecedented era of automation when billions of devices would be connected to the internet and would be able to share information. This would undoubtedly provide a boost to technological innovations and foster path-breaking developments. It is estimated that by 2020 over 24 billion devices connected to the internet would be installed.

The supply chain is no exception when every aspect of product development and delivery is being transformed, facilitated, and made more efficient through automation and integrated intelligence.

IoT empowers supply chain and logistics management

IoT Technology has been a major differentiation in the supply chain and logistics. Whether it is warehouse management, fleet management, delivery or shipment, IoT has majorly made its impact on this field.

Today, many firms are extending Internet of Things (IoT) devices into their supply chain to improve productivity and customer service. Sensors, communication devices, analytics engines, and decision-making aids are being employed to improve the efficiency of fleet management services, schedule optimization, routing, and reroutes due to adverse conditions. The IoT provides real-time tracking solutions and instant inventory visibility.

Risks in Supply Chain Management

However, as firms use the IoT to expand their reach into the supply chain, so too does it increase their attack vectors and potential loss of proprietary and sensitive data. Information System stores data and passes it between potentially thousands of devices that may have exploitable vulnerabilities; a poorly designed architecture could provide hackers the ability to disrupt, destroy, or steal vast and valuable stores of corporate and personal data.

The major security risk associated with the IoT comes from interactions with physical processes and its content leakage.  Specific to the supply chain is the issue of data leakage, where content becomes visible to hackers either through malicious or unintended means and with manufacturers making devices to different standards, problems could include a lack of device-interoperability, devices interacting unintentionally and even representing a risk to user safety, devices constructed from cheap or inferior hardware posing a cybersecurity risk by containing malware.

Also, IoT sensors are most susceptible to counterfeiting (fake products embedded with malware or malicious code); data exfiltration (extracting sensitive data from a device via hacking); identity spoofing (an unauthorized source gaining access to a device using the correct credentials); and malicious modification of components (replacement of components with parts modified to generate incorrect results or allow unauthorized access).

Risk Mitigation

Cyber security measures should be considered throughout the lifecycle of an operation—including planning, architecture and design, implementation, testing and migration.

There are several international and national standards documenting cyber security capabilities, policies and practices. Its recommended by experts these three as essential to creating a good foundation in the development of an IoT/cyber security strategy.

  • International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 62443: Industrial Automation & Control Systems Security
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 800-82: Guide to Industrial Control Systems (ICS) Security
  • Industrial Organization for Standardization (ISO) 27002: Information Technology—Security Techniques—Code of Practice for Information Security Controls