Do You Know the Risks of IoT?

IoT Vulnerabilities   The ever-expanding network of Internet of Things devices offers a range of convenient benefits to consumers—but don’t make the mistake of overlooking IoT vulnerabilities.   Did you know that 29 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices will be online by the end of this year?    This new wave of devices—including wearables, appliances and more—is slowly cementing itself as a foundational part of the modern business world. That’s why you need to understand what it is and how it works.    Most importantly, you need to know about IoT vulnerabilities and how to mitigate them.   What Is IoT?   The IoT is a natural evolution of the Internet, consisting of a range of […]

IoT Vulnerabilities

 

The ever-expanding network of Internet of Things devices offers a range of convenient benefits to consumers—but don’t make the mistake of overlooking IoT vulnerabilities.

 

Did you know that 29 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices will be online by the end of this year? 

 

This new wave of devices—including wearables, appliances and more—is slowly cementing itself as a foundational part of the modern business world. That’s why you need to understand what it is and how it works. 

 

Most importantly, you need to know about IoT vulnerabilities and how to mitigate them.

 

What Is IoT?

 

The IoT is a natural evolution of the Internet, consisting of a range of new “smart” and “connected” products and technologies for the commercial, consumer, and government environments. 

 

Private and professional users alike are seeking devices that are always-on, connected, and available to help them track data, more conveniently access their favorite apps, and automate minor tasks. The ever-expanding network of IoT devices offers a range of convenient benefits to consumers and offers exciting applications in the business world.

Types of IoT Devices

  • Sensors
  • Security Devices
  • Smart Wearable Devices
  • Intelligent Appliances
  • Actuators

 

IoT Vulnerabilities You Need To Know About

 

As quickly as they’ve become popular with users, IoT devices have become common targets for cybercriminals.

 

The sad fact is that cybersecurity is often a low priority for consumer-facing technology. The more secure something is, the less convenient it is to use. Producers will cut corners on cybersecurity standards in order to create a more seamless end-user experience.

 

The reality is that if your IoT devices aren’t configured and protected properly, cybercriminals can use them as a way into your network. 

 

Potential illicit uses include:

 

  • Capturing information traveling through the network.
  • Turning off critical systems like the breakroom refrigerator, office alarm system, etc.
  • Taking control of utilities like the thermostat 

 

7 IoT Vulnerabilities You Need To Know About

Lacking Security Controls

Despite the degree to which IoT devices can threaten security, most of these devices lack the capability to be patched with the latest security updates. This makes them ongoing threats to organizational security.

Case in point: did you know that over 95% of all IoT device traffic is unencrypted?

Confidential Data Gathering

Depending on their configuration, IoT devices can collect extensive and specific data on the networks to which they are connected, and the users on those networks.

Increasing Complexity In Workplace Security

The rate at which businesses incorporate IoT devices into their networks can very quickly exceed the cybersecurity capabilities of the business in question. The more devices on the network, the more potential targets for cybercriminals. Overly complex networks (especially in the modern age of remote work) are very difficult to secure. 

Default Security Vulnerabilities

Default and repeated passwords present easy targets for cybercriminals looking for a way to access your company’s data. 

Inconsistent IoT Security Awareness Training

Your IT team may understand how to secure IoT devices, but does the rest of your staff? Everyone with access to your network is a potential target and needs to understand the role they play in cybersecurity. 

Industry-Specific Risks

As of 2019, 87% of healthcare organizations have introduced the IoT into their operations. Keep in mind that any gathered by medical IoT devices and then compromised or deleted will directly affect quality of care and patient safety.

Inherent Vulnerabilities

As a relatively new technology, IoT devices present a range of common vulnerabilities. That’s why roughly 72% of organizations experienced an increase in endpoint and IoT security incidents last year and 56% of organizations expect to be compromised via an endpoint or IoT-originated attack within the next 12 months.

Potential vulnerabilities include:

 

  • Botnet Attacks that carry out acts such as credential leaks, unauthorized access, data theft, and DDoS attacks.
  • Denial-of-Service/Distributed Denial-of-Service (DoS and DDoS) attacks that flood your business’ systems with multiple data requests, resulting in lags and crashes.
  • Malware attacks that hijack your systems and turn them into botnets that follow the hacker’s commands.
  • Passive wiretapping/Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks that involve an unauthorized entity breaking into your business’ network, posing as an insider, and threatening your business’ data.
  • Structured Query Language injection (SQL injection), which can destroy your databases.
  • Zero-Day Exploits, in which an undetected vulnerability is used by cybercriminals to gain access and cause damage. 

IoT Vulnerabilities & Potential Attack Vectors

Given that the IoT sector is generally unregulated (when compared to the cybersecurity threats they can pose), most smart devices lack the security features they need.

 

As an open side-door to your network, access to these devices can lead to a lot of damage to your IoT ecosystem: 

Shutting down or tampering with operations

When a malicious actor compromises your system via a connected device, a more threatening outcome lies with the ability for the hacker to access your system controls. 

 

This can lead to sabotaging and shutting down your processes, holding your operation for ransom, damaging the integrity of the products being produced, or simply bringing everything to a complete halt. 

Stealing and duplicating proprietary designs

With full access to your network and industrial control systems, bad actors can also duplicate proprietary processes, leading to your designs being held for ransom, duplicated in another country, or even sold on the Dark Web. 

Obtaining and leaking sensitive operational data

A data breach puts your sensitive data and privacy at major risk as cybercriminals can choose to access, delete, sell, or hold your data for ransom including; client & partner data, employee data, financial data, and organizational trade secrets.  

How To Mitigate IoT Vulnerabilities

According to Statistica, just 28% of business leaders plan to invest in security for their IoT devices.

 

Don’t make the same mistake as a majority of business owners. If you’re concerned about IoT vulnerabilities (and you should be), then you can improve your defensive capabilities by implementing these cybersecurity best practices:

Password Management

As a rule of thumb, any device that has a login/password should not use a default option. Make sure you pick a unique password for each and every IoT device in use at your company. 

Network Monitoring

IoT devices are connected to your network, and so,  you need to make sure that the network is properly monitored. With the right solution in place, you’ll be able to identify and address any illegal attempts by external parties to break in. 

Update and Patch Management

Patches and updates should be applied quickly and consistently for all devices you use, whether that’s your PC or your smartwatch.

The firmware that your IoT devices operate on can quickly fall out of date. That’s why you need to regularly apply the latest patches released by their developers. This will secure your devices against emergent threats. 

Commercial Grade Firewalls

You can’t rely on a consumer-grade firewall to keep your business safe. This is especially important if you have a complex network with dozens of devices connected to it. 

 

Commercial firewalls will apply a crucial layer of protection between cybercriminals and the IoT devices you and your team use. 

Intelice Will Help You Overcome IoT Vulnerabilities

The above are critical, individual steps that you can take to improve your IoT security. 

 

However, it should be noted that cybersecurity is a full-time job. If you want to confidently use the latest technologies without taking on additional risk, it’s best to work with the experts. 

 

Intelice Solutions will help you take advantage of the IoT without compromising your security.