Internet of Things (IoT) Security

Internet of Things (IoT) Security

IoT Security refers to the practice of safeguarding IoT devices connected to networks by threat actors. Data exchanged between IoT devices and networks may be intercepted unless encrypted for protection purposes.

IoT devices contain sensitive information such as credit card and health records, making them attractive targets for hackers who seek to exploit this vulnerability by accessing more parts of a network and potentially gain entry to steal more data or cause havoc with it.

What Is IoT Security?

IoT Security is the practice of safeguarding Internet of Things devices and networks they connect to against online threats, by identifying, monitoring and addressing device vulnerabilities such as patching and remediation. Continuous monitoring software can help effectively manage IoT Security as it automatically scans devices within your network for attacks – helping minimize attacker exposure time and allow IT teams to thwart assaults before they become visible to end-users.

IoT devices generate and store an immense amount of personal information that hackers can exploit, including names, user accounts, home addresses, social security numbers and phone numbers. Since many individuals use identical credentials across devices – making them easy targets for cybercriminals – it makes IoT devices especially vulnerable against hacker attack.

Additionally, most IoT devices are unencrypted, making it easier for hackers to spy and steal data. IoT Security requires best practices like multi-factor authentication to prevent hackers from gaining entry to devices or sensitive information. Furthermore, make sure that default passwords on each of your devices are always changed into unique ones for optimal protection.

Definition of IoT Security

IoT Security refers to protecting all devices connected to an IoT, from smart home appliances and healthcare equipment to cars and utility infrastructure. Best practices for IoT security aim at preventing hackers from accessing these devices for illicit uses or controlling them for access purposes.

One of the key aspects of IoT security is ensuring software and firmware are kept up-to-date, as this often addresses vulnerabilities exploited by cybercriminals to gain entry. Furthermore, using multi-factor authentication for each connected device is recommended for optimal protection.

Once collected by an IoT device, its data needs to be transferred back into the cloud for processing. This may take place via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, satellite communication, low power wide area networks (LPWANs) or even Ethernet; its specific methods depend on your IoT application.

IoT data exchanges may be vulnerable to on-path attacks if they are not encrypted, providing security from on-path attackers who could intercept and read data between IoT cameras and cloud servers without encryption. Without encryption, these IoT cameras and medical devices could be easily compromised in order to disable critical features or reveal sensitive patient data without permission.

What Is an IoT device?

An IoT device can be defined as any internet-enabled sensor, actuator, gadget or machine which collects data for transmission to cloud platforms and/or other devices via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Radio Frequency Identification technologies such as RFID. Examples of such IoT devices include smart light bulbs, connected smoke detectors and home security cameras.

IoT devices produce immense volumes of data. Tech analyst firm IDC estimates that, within five years, these gadgets will create an estimated 79.4 zettabytes – from short bursts like engine temperature measurements to continuous streams such as video surveillance data streams.

These gadgets are utilized across industries to increase efficiency, gather intelligence and track metrics. IoT devices enable track-and-trace and remote monitoring of warehouse inventory in transportation and logistics companies; temperature-sensitive products use IoT sensors to track shipment trucks using weather conditions or driver availability as a determining factor; while workflow automation revolutionizes repetitive tasks to make them safer and more effective for employees to handle.

Challenges of IoT Security

IoT devices gather and send data back to the cloud through various connections such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, satellite or low-power wide-area networks (LPWAN), depending on their application. Software then utilizes this information to complete tasks – often without user intervention.

Unfortunately, many IoT devices lack sufficient security measures – making them attractive targets for cybercriminals. Once hackers gain entry to one, they can access sensitive information and use it for illicit purposes – for instance by amplifying DDoS attacks with IoT botnets.

Another concern with IoT devices is their failure to use strong passwords, leaving them open to hacking attacks if their default password can easily be guessed by cyber criminals. Device owners should regularly check for firmware and software updates and implement them immediately in order to reduce risk and protect their devices against threats.

Owners of IoT devices should also ensure their devices only connect to trusted networks and avoid unnecessary Bluetooth, NFC or voice activation features that could provide additional attack vectors. Devices that don’t need internet communication should also be deactivated as this will reduce their attack surface.

Top IoT Security Threats

Hackers find IoT devices an attractive target due to their proliferation, as many run outdated operating systems that are vulnerable to known vulnerabilities and exploits.

Unsecure data protection is another major IoT security concern. Many IoT devices collect sensitive personal information ranging from patient records in healthcare equipment to home gadgets that may be misused if left unsecured. Implementing data encryption technology on such devices can protect their data while only authorized applications gain access.

IoT device managers must also employ measures such as using tamper-proof cases and burying conductors within multilayer circuit boards to prevent physical tampering, using visibility tools to locate all IoT devices across their network, and employ data classification systems, end-to-end encryption, and secure communication channels to prevent physical intrusions.

IoT devices often rely on complex ecosystems of components and third-party services that may create security weaknesses. To address this threat, organizations should regularly update all components as well as conduct security reviews of third-party services to detect any gaps or potential gaps in security.

Best Practices for IoT Security

IoT devices can be vulnerable to security vulnerabilities that can easily be avoided by following best practices for their protection. First and foremost, updating to the most up-to-date firmware version is vital in protecting IoT devices against vulnerabilities exploited by attackers who know about flaws in its software. Working closely with IoT vendors on establishing an update management and firmware upgrade plan schedule is also highly recommended.

Network segmentation is another best practice for IoT security that can help minimize the impact of any cybersecurity incidents by isolating IoT devices from critical systems and data. Furthermore, these IoT devices should communicate over secure channels with other connected devices.

Finally, IoT security should include standardized encryption to protect data that’s only accessible with a key. In addition, it’s essential that a data integration solution provide centralized control over IoT device connectivity to ensure only authorized devices can communicate and help safeguard against data in transit.

How are IoT devices used in DDoS attacks?

IoT devices collect and store data that cybercriminals can exploit for various purposes, thus increasing your attack surface. While organizations often rely on IoT for digital transformation and operational efficiencies, more data could pose additional risk.

Many Internet of Things devices come equipped with default login details that can be exploited by cybercriminals, so changing device credentials regularly should be implemented and managed as part of best practice. Also important are updates to IoT firmware which reduce vulnerability exploited by attackers; yet too often consumers disregard such essential safeguards thinking IoT devices are “insignificant.”

Once infected with malware, IoT devices can become part of a botnet and be used to launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against websites and online services – potentially costing businesses millions in lost revenue due to disruptions caused by these attacks. Furthermore, they could also be used as surveillance devices within companies’ networks, and access personally identifiable information or confidential data belonging to employees without authorization.

Why IoT Devices Are Attractive Targets For Attackers?

IoT devices present attackers with numerous opportunities. At home, attacks against smart TVs, fridges and baby monitors could have serious repercussions; while in enterprise settings medical equipment and network infrastructure devices could be subject to breach attempts.

Any additional IoT device adds another avenue of attack into a network, necessitating safeguards in terms of visibility, control and protection to keep IoT devices secure.

What attacks are IoT devices?

As more businesses embrace IoT devices in business environments, the number of potential entryways for cyberattacks increases exponentially. Since these devices lack built-in security controls typical of endpoint devices, organizations must use additional measures like firewalls, NAT devices and authentication in order to safeguard these IoT devices and avoid attacks from occurring directly or transferring onto corporate networks.

Most IoT devices ship with default settings that make them simple for attackers to breach. Once compromised, hackers may exploit vulnerabilities in IoT device firmware in order to launch targeted attacks against companies.

IoT devices communicate over unsecure networks, leaving cybercriminals the chance to listen in on device conversations or intercept server chatter and gain credentials or sensitive data from these interactions.

Some IoT devices feature user interfaces that allow them to monitor their devices proactively, providing potential threats with access and opportunities to manipulate its circuits, ports or chips.

Firmware vulnerability exploits

IoT devices collect an immense amount of user data that could be sold or misused maliciously. Since most people don’t read the terms and services for these devices, many don’t realize their personal information could be misused against them.

Unfortunately, IoT devices often lack adequate coding protections and firmware vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit. For instance, some IoT devices have hard-coded passwords which users cannot change while others offer weak encryption or no authentication protection at all.

On-path attacks involve placing themselves between two IoT devices and intercepting their communications – much like having your mail read by unauthorised parties as it goes through postal services). Since many IoT devices don’t encrypt their communications, on-path attackers can easily spy on these communications without breaking them up into discrete packets.

IoT security requires an all-inclusive strategy that includes stringent administrative oversight, frequent software and firmware updates, strong password usage and internal network segmentation. Furthermore, disabling device features you don’t need will close additional ports on your network and make it harder for attackers to locate IoT devices on it.

Credential-based attacks

Attackers use stolen credentials to gain entry, bypass an organization’s security measures, and steal critical data. Criminals acquire them through various means – from phishing and malware infections, frequent data breaches or brute force guessing attempts, even simply finding them online in plain text form – such as phishing attacks, malware infections, frequent data breaches or brute force guessing attacks or the dark web itself. Once criminals possess stolen credentials they use them against users by exploiting digital interfaces and workflows such as login forms for ATO/fraud purposes or credential stuffing attacks that monetize stolen data monetizing attacks against stolen data stolen by criminals utilizing stolen credentials monetize stolen.

Consumers’ increasing reliance on digital channels creates opportunities for malicious actors to prey upon them. Data breaches continue to provide attackers with large volumes of user data and passwords for targeted attacks against victims.

Behavioural analytics and effective password practices are an integral component of protecting against credential-based attacks. By monitoring anomalous behaviour patterns, an organization can detect threats in real time to stop any lateral network movement. Such systems typically leverage machine learning techniques that identify “normal” network activity before quickly detecting outlier events that indicate suspicious activities – so called machine learning system can identify outlier events as quickly as they arise, quickly pinpointing threats.

On-path attacks

On-path attacks work similarly to post office workers in intercepting private letters sent between individuals; hackers can use on-path attacks to insert themselves between connected devices and intercept interactions without users knowing. This allows hackers to steal data, manipulate interactions, and gain lateral movement within networks.

An attacker that intercepts HTTP connections between user devices and websites can gain access to login details or redirect visitors to a fraudulent version of their desired site, giving access to their cookies (the pieces of information sent back by websites to browsers for identification).

On-path attacks typically employ malicious Wi-Fi networks as platforms for attack. Threat actors will establish fake Wi-Fi organizations to mimic the look and feel of their targets’ networks before broadcasting a malicious ARP table designed to hijack devices and redirect traffic back to its original destination – an ARP poisoning attack is the easiest way for attackers to take over local networks; unlike other hacking techniques, on-path attacks don’t require installing malware onto targeted devices in order to be successful.

Physical hardware-based attacks

Companies increasingly relying on IoT devices to increase efficiency and cut costs have found themselves vulnerable as more businesses depend on them to help enhance efficiency and cut costs. While IoT devices provide companies with efficiency gains, hackers can use vulnerable IoT devices as entryways into networks to steal this sensitive data.

These devices often use default administrator usernames and passwords that attackers can easily guess. Once compromised, compromised devices can become part of a botnet to generate large volumes of traffic that cannot be blocked by defenses.

Companies should have full visibility over all IoT devices on their networks, and an IoT security solution should assess each device individually, looking for vulnerabilities to stop potential exploitation of vulnerabilities in each one. Furthermore, such solutions can reveal all connected IoT devices within a network to make taking swift action easier when threats emerge; larger enterprises may benefit from adopting a zero-trust strategy which limits access to internal systems and minimizes their attack surface.

Software and firmware updates

IoT devices contain many moving parts. Firmware updates and software patches are an integral component of improving device functionality, fixing bugs, and adding security features; yet many IoT devices fail to update regularly or at all – leaving them vulnerable against attacks.

Hackers commonly exploit IoT devices to gain entry to larger networks and systems. Attacks against IoT devices could include disarming brakes on smart cars, ruining medication stored in refrigerators or even physically harming people.

IoT devices need a robust cybersecurity system that proactively protects them against attacks. This should include using zero-trust security measures, assessing firmware of each networked device for any potential vulnerabilities, and tracking unmanaged IoT devices on corporate networks. DNS filtering as an additional layer of IoT protection prevents these devices from accessing open ports on the internet and thus giving hackers entry to systems; IoT device management solutions help companies discover and securely manage networked devices as this protects corporate data against attacks targeting vulnerabilities discovered through IoT device weaknesses – essential in protecting corporate data against such attacks!

Credential security

Because IoT devices are always connected and easily accessible remotely, they present an attractive target for those with malicious intentions. This could include someone trying to gain access to personal data or networks or physically alter a device.

IoT devices often lack the same security measures as computers, with firmware that contains known vulnerabilities that are difficult or impossible to patch and weak default passwords that leave these devices open to attacks from hackers.

Once compromised, attackers can use IoT devices as gateways into other more protected systems, making them vulnerable targets for cybercrime. Therefore it’s crucial that you maintain visibility and context regarding which devices are connected to your network as well as a continuous monitoring solution that identifies and manages them. Encryption provides the easiest and most efficient way to prevent on-path attacks; attackers won’t be able to intercept, analyze or alter this exchanged data.

Device authentication

As enterprises and consumers adopt IoT devices, network security becomes an increasing challenge. To protect IoT data from being breached into cybercriminal hands, authentication of device data becomes essential to keeping data within your company from falling into their hands.

IoT device authentication requires that a connected device meets specific criteria to join the network, from as simple as needing a password for entry to cryptographic authentication and beyond. Furthermore, authentication also establishes whether an IoT device can be trusted as part of its ecosystem.

Some IoT devices rely on cookie-based authentication, which may not provide as much protection as more advanced authentication techniques such as symmetric key. With symmetric key authentication, an IoT device secures its private key with software protection on its hardware; traditional memory is less safe compared with HSMs which provide greater protection and are considered industry best practice when it comes to IoT device security.

Final Thoughts

Many of the issues surrounding IoT security can be overcome through better preparation. Developers should incorporate IoT security solutions from the beginning, while consumers can play their part by insisting on secure devices and rejecting those which don’t meet high standards. They should also update default passwords regularly and install device updates as soon as they become available.

Manufacturers can enhance IoT security by including a more stringent authentication system and protecting against brute-force password attacks. Furthermore, they should limit network connectivity to only those features necessary for the device to function and ensure users are aware of firmware updates so they can apply them promptly.

Organizations should also be able to quickly discover all IoT systems connected to their corporate networks and understand the risk they pose. An ideal solution should be available that can detect all connections within minutes and even detect hidden devices – this is essential because attackers prey upon negligence; each additional IoT device increases the attack surface.

Sam is an experienced information security specialist who works with enterprises to mature and improve their enterprise security programs. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.