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Future of IoT Live Patching: What to Expect in Cybersecurity

Rohan Timalsina

February 13, 2024 - TuxCare expert team

  • Unpatched devices often have known security vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers
  • IoT live patching keeps devices online and operational even during security updates, reducing downtime
  • Automated patching solutions like KernelCare IoT make IoT devices more resistant to cyberattacks

The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly evolving, with billions of connected devices infiltrating every aspect of our lives. From smart homes and wearables to industrial machines and critical infrastructure, these devices are collecting and transmitting vast amounts of data. However, securing these diverse and often resource-constrained devices can be a challenging task. Conventional patching methods, which involve rebooting devices for updates, are often impractical or even impossible in the IoT realm. Therefore, IoT live patching is at the forefront of cybersecurity innovation, and many forward-thinking organizations are adopting this approach.  


IoT Live Patching: A Game-Changer in Cybersecurity


With the increasing number of IoT devices in our daily lives, the potential attack surface for cyberattacks has also increased. The inadequate security measures of these devices make them vulnerable to many threats, including ransomware, malware, and data leaks. Also, the conventional methods of patching IoT devices are insufficient and time consuming, leading to downtime or delayed patching. This is where IoT live patching emerges as a game-changer in the cybersecurity landscape.

With its dynamic and proactive approach to security, IoT devices can receive real-time updates and fixes, all without rebooting them or scheduling downtime. It is an essential strategy for addressing vulnerabilities quickly and staying ahead of potential threats.


Risks of Unpatched IoT Devices


The risks of unpatched IoT devices extend beyond the devices themselves, affecting users, networks, and potential entire IoT ecosystems. The following are some key risks associated with unpatched IoT devices:


Security Issues


Unpatched devices often have known security vulnerabilities that malicious actors could take advantage of. The vulnerabilities remain unaddressed in the absence of updates, providing potential entry points for unauthorized access, and resulting in data breaches. Additionally, the devices become easy targets for malware and ransomware attacks. Malicious software can be injected into IoT devices, disrupting the service, stealing data, or even making the devices inoperable.


Lack of Compliance


Organizations may face legal and regulatory consequences when the unpatched IoT devices fail to comply with industry standards and regulations. Compliance requirements often involve regular security updates and patches to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of data.


Loss of User Trust


Security breaches resulting from unpatched IoT devices can erode user trust in IoT technology. Users may become reluctant to adopt IoT solutions if they perceive them as unreliable or insecure. This loss of trust can have long-term effects for both manufacturers and the broader IoT industry.



Emerging Trends in IoT Live Patching


Automated Patching


In cybersecurity, automation is becoming increasingly important. Automated patching solutions like KernelCare IoT enable the swift deployment of latest updates and fixes to IoT devices, reducing the window of vulnerability exposure to potential threats.


Real-Time Patching


Real-time patching is the ability to apply updates, fixes, or patches without interrupting device operation. It is a critical component of IoT cybersecurity, as it offers a quick and seamless mechanism to roll out patches without the need for rebooting devices or patching-related downtime.


Over-the-Air (OTA) Updates


OTA updates allow manufacturers and developers to deliver software patches, security fixes, feature updates, and firmware upgrades to connected devices without requiring physical access. Patch distribution through edge computing platforms can lower latency and improve reliability. This is particularly crucial in the context of IoT, where devices may be deployed in diverse and challenging environments. 


Future of IoT Live Patching


These developments hold immense promise for the future of IoT cybersecurity. Some of the key benefits include:

Reduced downtime and disruption: Live patching eliminates the downtime and service disruptions caused by conventional patching methods.

Enhanced threat response: AI-powered patching can monitor system logs and identify unusual activities, contributing to faster threat detection and mitigation.  

Improved device resilience: Automated patching solutions can make IoT devices more resistant to cyberattacks. 

IoT live patching appears to have a promising future as long as technological advancements continue to address evolving cyber threats. By embracing these trends and fostering collaboration, we can unlock the full potential of the connected world while mitigating the associated cybersecurity risks.

Final Thoughts


As the number of IoT devices continues to grow, protecting these devices against cyberattacks becomes a top priority. Real-time updates, automated systems, and innovative technologies will make IoT devices more resilient against emerging threats. The industry is heading toward a future where IoT live patching becomes a standard security practice, ensuring the continuous security of connected devices. 

KernelCare IoT streamlines the process of applying patches to Linux-based IoT devices, addressing vulnerabilities promptly and ensuring continuous availability. It enhances the overall security and longevity of IoT ecosystems by facilitating seamless, on-the-fly updates.

Learn more about live patching IoT devices in this whitepaper


Future of IoT Live Patching: What to Expect in Cybersecurity
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Future of IoT Live Patching: What to Expect in Cybersecurity
Explore emerging trends and technologies in IoT live patching and dive into the next era of cybersecurity for connected devices.
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