What is IoT Security
IoT Security or “internet of things” security, is the act of securing devices and networks connected to the Internet of Things. Examples of these IoT devices include smart energy grids, industrial machines, and building automation. Modern organizations use it to run their businesses effectively.
Why IoT Security is Important
In order to work effectively, IoT devices need to be connected and secure. You want to have security to prevent any hackers from gaining control over your IoT devices. If there is a lack of authentication, coding and confidentiality to your IoT device, this will cause more damage and likely occurrences of attacks. You can learn more about IoT technology here.
How do IoT Attacks Occur?
IoT attacks occur when hackers get a hold of IoT devices. These are typically known as DDoS attacks, or Distributed Denial of Service attacks. Hackers can manipulate devices to the point where the IoT network overloads and shuts down. Other common threats to look out for are network hacks and RF jams, which are radio frequency jams. All of these attacks are examples of how hackers can easily take over compromised IoT devices, which tend to go through several security challenges.
IoT Security Challenges
It is no secret that it tends to be at risk for breaches and other hacking attempts. Hence, it’s important to discuss the types of challenges that IoT networks go through.
Outdated hardware and software
It’s easy for hackers to go after older hardware and software. That’s why one of the most common challenges that IoT security networks struggle with is to keep up to date with their systems. You simply want to make sure that you have updated software and hardware to avoid this problem.
Using weak and default credentials
Along with older versions of hardware and software comes weaker credentials. If your default credentials are not up to date, or lack strong authentication, then you’re an easy target for hackers. That’s why it’s better to change your passwords on protected networks or using less common usernames for login IDs.
Ransomware and Malware
Encountering malware or ransomware is an IoT security nightmare. These can easily infect your system and be difficult to recover from. Because IoT ransomware is a new kind of threat to IoT devices, it’s a type of malware that can lock down all access and encrypt your files.
Predicting and preventing attacks
It can be a hit or miss when it comes to expecting attacks. But, it’s also another issue in trying to prevent them. The challenges with having an network is to cover all your bases in order to prevent future and unexpected breaches.
Difficulty in finding an affected device
Because it can be hard to keep track of an affected IoT device, it’s best if you keep in mind these types of circumstances that could potentially be brought into your network. The reason why it’s difficult to find affected devices is because IoT systems can be complex. Because of the complexity, it makes it hard to find out where the source is truly coming from since a majority of files may have been compromised.
Challenges with security and data protection
This all goes back to updating hardware and software we all use to predict every hacker’s move to prevent future attacks. Because the entire world lives interconnectedly, it’s easier for hackers to get into your IoT security and sell all of your rights for data privacy to other companies. This clearly violates rights of security and privacy.
Using autonomous systems for managing data
Automated systems are the rage in how modern workplaces function nowadays. When using these types of systems to manage data, it’s important to remember the vulnerable setbacks that IoT security can bring. Yes, it can provide freedom and data, but hacking the system also comes at a price.
More IoT devices such as home security systems are also at risk for security breaches. Although it can be safe and secure at home, you never know what hackers can be up to when attacking this type of IoT device’s security system. Because your router is out in the open, it’s likely that the smart home lifestyle can also become affected by these issues since any hacker has access to information that can be easily leaked.
Autonomous vehicle security
Vehicles are also prime targets for hackers. According to the NHTSA, or National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at least 94% of serious vehicle crashes are caused by human error(1). The other 6% would remain as the cause from autonomous vehicle security breaches. Be sure to be on the lookout for ransomware infections and data breaches that can jeopardize the system of your autonomous vehicles.
Vulnerability with IoT Security
Having Vulnerable APIs
Creating weak application programming interfaces can put you at risk for security breaches. The first step with using IoT devices is to establish strong APIs that can likely protect your IoT security from being compromised.
Because this tends to be a common trait for most systems, it’s important to consider and take precautions in creating stronger authentication for IoT devices. This will protect your IoT network immensely since it will improve IoT security.
Another setback with IoT security is the issue with vulnerable coding. In terms of cyber security, it’s essential to keep your security system to be out of reach from any breaches. However, because it is prone to unpatched vulnerabilities, it’s important to consider solutions such as automated updates to your IoT security network, or even investing in high-quality software to avoid this common mistake.
Lack of Compliance with IoT Manufacturers
Communication is key no matter what type of situation you’re dealing with. Having the lack of compliance with IoT manufacturers can lead to a high risk of exposing your IoT security network becoming vulnerable and easy to target.
Lack of User Awareness and Knowledge
Being naive about it is more common than you’d think. Putting your IoT device at risk can be the cause of this. It’s encouraged to brush up on the do’s and don’ts of user awareness.
Security Problems with Device Update Management
When updating your IoT system, you always want to inspect any security problems that come with the update management of an IoT device. This is a critical step to take since it will help patch up holes in your security system.
The Lack of Physical Hardening
This refers to taking control of an IoT device. Potential hackers use this tactic to gain sensitive information and continue to use that information to create future attacks remotely.
Attacks of Botnets
Botnet attacks tend to happen when vulnerable IoT security networks lack physical hardening, have outdated software and other unpatched holes within the system. It occurs as a domino effect with a number of IoT devices. This can allow hackers to steal data, send spam, and do all sorts of damage through DDoS attacks.
Eavesdropping and Industrial Espionage
This goes back on who to trust certain information to within the workplace. This common security risk can cause another cyber-attack scenario that’s bound to happen. When eavesdropping and exposing trade secrets comes to light with IoT security, chances are that your vulnerable network will be at risk. Hence why it’s important to know who to trust with sensitive and confidential information.
High jacking of IoT Devices
When there’s a will, there’s a way. There are plenty of ways that an IoT device can get hijacked. Whether it’s through botnets or unpatched sections within an IoT security network, hijacking IoT devices is another risk that can cause immense damage.
Data Integrity Risks of IoT Security in Healthcare
The healthcare industry increasingly relies on devices. Since IoT devices are prone to such attacks, data can be easily compromised when outdated and vulnerable. Data integrity can also get into medical devices such as MRI or anesthesia equipment. If you are a business that thrives in the healthcare industry, then take initiative on focusing more on what you can do with your IoT devices and security.
Rogue IoT Devices
Connected devices tend to be the target of attacks due to its lack of built-in security. When dealing with rogue IoT devices, keep an eye out for odd behavior, test for a weekly diagnosis, or even check for unpatched places that have created gaping holes within your security system.
Crypto Mining with IoT Bots
Investing cryptocurrency can also affect your IoT system. When crypto mining with IoT bots, you invite more viruses that will likely attack your IoT security. This is a major security risk because this all reverts to the vulnerable exposure that IoT devices and security are potentially at risk for.
How to Protect IoT Systems and Devices
Despite going over the amount of security risks that IoT security, here are 12 tips that can help as a solution to preventing such risks.
Incorporate security at a design phase
Applying security during the trial and error period is better than incorporating security later on in the process. When protecting IoT systems and devices, you want to incorporate the security network early on in the design phase. This gives you more time to determine your options and see what the perfect solution is for your IoT security.
Keep hardcoded credentials out of the design process
Putting in hard coded credentials early on in the design process will put you more at risk with your IoT security system. Consider keeping this part out of the design process since it will be easier for hackers to get a hold of the encrypted codes being embedded.
Have PKI and digital certificates
PKI, or Public Key Infrastructure, can be used in order to increase IoT security. You can use PKIs and digital certificates for convenient authentication. There are plenty of PKI programs that can improve your business model. Start your free trial(2) today to learn more.
Install API security
Because API attacks are another target for hackers, consider installing API security for your IoT security network. This will protect your APIs as well as the APIs that you use on the internet. If you work with a third party API, then this should definitely be considered.
Establish Identity Management
Identity management allows you to have a set of rules on who has access to your technological resources. In this case, having identity management will help you establish a set of regulations that employees should follow when using IoT devices. This is also applicable when installing new software for an IoT security network.
Aside from software security, you should also invest in hardware security. Hardware firewalls and proxy servers are prime examples of hardware security and can protect your device from theft. Because physical attack of a device is just as easy for any hacker to breach a system, it’s crucial to have exterior protection.
Adding network security tools to your security network will provide instant response to unauthorized intrusions of networks, digital asset monitoring, and protect your system from any bugs and other threats. Network security is a reliable security tool because it can not only secure your IoT devices and security system, but also network its traffic.
Network Access Control
Using Network Access Control for your IoT security and devices can keep unauthorized users out of your private network. This type of approach can unify your IoT security network and enforce system authentication.
Establishing a secure web gateway for your IoT security network can create protection between your IoT device and other malicious applications. Once you have security gateways, it will be difficult for attackers to get into. Security gateways are designed to provide utmost network protection through web request inspections and blockages if against your company’s policy.
Maintain continuous software updates and patch management
The more you keep up to date with software updates, the less likely you are to be at risk for any viruses and other security breaches. As for patch management, always maintain as physical hardening to your IoT devices and security network. Establish risk assessments and try out multiple patches that can help acquire a better IoT security system.
Team integration is another solution that can reduce your exposure to breaches. Once you merge more teams into your IoT security network, you expand more protection to your IoT system and devices.
Bringing awareness to the issues that IoT security goes through should be a priority to consider when protecting IoT devices. You want to broaden the knowledge for consumers in order to maintain a lifestyle with smart devices.
IoT Security Checklist
Before investing in IoT security tools, and seeking solutions to strengthen your IoT security network, take a look at our checklist in case you’ve missed an IoT security detail or two.
Make sure to create a system where you aren’t using the same password over and over. It’s better to have temporary authentication rather than the same password that can easily get hacked.
Do not make assumptions
Although it’s great to expect the unexpected, you shouldn’t make assumptions that your IoT system will be attacked. As long as you take precautions, and create regulations about data security, then all should be well for your security network.
Ensure software ports
Software ports are a must for your IoT security system. This will help you gain IoT support insights. Since you want to protect your system overall, it’s best that you secure your software ports.
Turning off capabilities
Capabilities will most likely put your IoT security network at risk. From preventing that from happening, make sure to turn off technical capabilities. This will increase your chances of attackers going after data, connectivity, and most of all your IoT device.
Software updates and firmware
Have all of your software and firmware updated. This will help your IoT system keep up with security protection, and other attacks of a network breach. As for firmware, please have security in mind. Because firmware is also prone to attacks, this can lead to bigger problems that can lead to compromised attacks of devices and software.
Investigate IoT devices
Lastly, perform a routine check up on your IoT devices. Investigating thoroughly is an effective strategy in protecting IoT security and devices. If you spot any suspicious activity on your IoT device, it’s best that you handle the situation as soon as possible. Never wait until the last minute.
Yes, there are more risks when expanding the use of IoT security and devices. However, it’s an innovative concept to the modern business world . Things to consider before establishing better IoT security is creating a relationship with IoT manufacturers. From there on, you should be able to keep track of any software and hardware updates for your security system.
Because it can be dubbed as a “security breach nightmare”, doesn’t mean this should prevent you from investing in it. There’s always a good and bad side to everything, which is why every pro and con that’s been explained in this article will guide your way around common mistakes to learn from and tips to make an IoT security system successful.