The weakness of being multiconnected: Challenges in the quality assurance of IoT systems

The fourth industrial revolution is driven by the internet, allowing machines to communicate with each other in the cyber-physical system. The Internet of Things has created a constantly connected network of people, machines, and companies, allowing the continuous sharing of data in value-creating processes. But what are the main challenges and weaknesses of IoT systems that would require thorough testing?

The development of the Internet of Things (IoT) technology brought about several challenges in the field of Quality Assurance. These include security, user privacy, the reliability of the service, interoperability, and integration. 
All of the above create a demand for a specific Quality Assurance methodology for IoT solutions. But while IoT represents a significant stream in the current technology development, related work addressing the topics of IoT-specific testing methods is limited.
Firstly, business competition has a direct impact on development. Competition triggers a demand to lower prices of the manufactured IoT devices and thus creates pressure to shorten the time to market.
Secondly, user dependency on the network service is constantly growing, and this trend is expected to continue. In the IoT solutions, this can be especially critical in the case of medical or mission-critical services, where the reliability of the service must always be ensured.

Issues with cybersecurity

IoT sensor networks or camera networks are often located in places that make them easily accessible by an attacker. On the other hand, they can be difficult to check by the service provider periodically. These devices, therefore, act as a vulnerable point to the entire network.
An additional difficulty is that either due to low production costs or energy consumption issues, it is not always possible to update some devices, typically in sensor networks. Thus, known security defects can be exploited by a potential attacker.
Furthermore, some IoT devices are powered by battery or solar energy, and to minimize consumption, lightweight authorization, and security algorithms are implemented. These expose devices as a weak entry point to the whole network. 
IoT devices are also connected to the internet, which has at least two consequences: the number of links between connected devices will grow, and the weakly secured device can act as an entry point. Combined with GPS, voice recognition, or embedded cameras, this can lead to security and privacy threats.
Thus, there is a high demand for efficient testing and quality assurance methods developed for IoT-specific environments. These may include interoperability testing, testing the behavior of the IoT solution under a limited network connection, and techniques to efficiently reduce a high number of platform configurations.

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