The Internet of Things (IoT) is taking center stage as the next big technological advancement. It’s no surprise that this preoccupation has made its way into the world of cybersecurity.
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What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
Connecting physical electronic objects, gadgets, software and technologies out of programming connected to each other for data communication over the internet is known as the IoT (Internet of Things).
In order to communicate with similarly linked devices or machines, more things and systems in our lives are now built with network connectivity and computing power.
Benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT)
While there are tremendous benefits that can be realized through connected devices and related technology, these open new vulnerabilities for hackers to exploit.
As the IoT expands outside of consumer-oriented products like refrigerators and washing machines, it directly impacts many other industries including healthcare, energy, government, financial services and telecommunications.
The importance of IoT in cybersecurity cannot be understated by any stretch. With so much at risk of potentially devastating consequences if not adequately protected against attacks.
How can businesses ensure their IoT implementation is secure, offering the maximum benefits possible?
The idea of the Internet of Things has been around for years.
The concept proposes that as technology evolves and becomes more interconnected, everyday objects will be able to connect to computer networks, where they’re controlled or managed through interactions with other devices or applications.
While this sounds great in theory – it represents a threat vector that may not have been thought about before.
For example “smart homes” are becoming increasingly common because so many people are now carrying smartphones that could leverage apps within these smart homes to control various aspects of the – door locks is one of the most popular examples.
However, what hasn’t become clear until recently is much cyber security needs to be involved to ensure that connected devices are secure to stop hackers from being able to compromise them.
In the case of door locks, this could allow a hacker to unlock your front door using their smartphone without ever needing physical access – which is incredibly counterintuitive and scary when you can think about it in those terms.
This represents a dangerous new trend in cyber security threats because many IoT devices have been known for years for not having strong security protections in place.
This means they’re easy targets for hackers who want an entry point on one device (such as smart home products like door locks) but can use these vulnerabilities to spread out across other devices on the network (including the PC or laptop that opens your front door).
Your video camera might be compromised allowing people to see inside your home and know when you’re not there, or hackers could access your connected car and exploit the vulnerability to take control of the car.
They could even use ransomware attacks against these devices to make them unusable until a ransom is paid in full, which would give anyone nightmares if they were depending on IoT for life-critical purposes such as healthcare equipment of a loved one.
The good news is that cybersecurity experts have been working diligently on developing new standards for vendors using IoT products by leveraging encryption algorithms and other security protocols that can help stop cybercriminals from being able to get into their systems.
There’s also been a fair amount of positive talks between government agencies, law enforcement groups and IoT device manufacturers about creating new technologies altogether so they can work to prevent cyber attacks before they happen.
This is great news for the future of the Internet of things, but what about businesses that are already using these devices today?
Many organizations have been slow to adopt security protocols into their existing IoT setups, which has opened doorways for hackers to exploit vulnerabilities and penetrate networks without being noticed.
While this represents the biggest threat – the good news is there are things enterprises can do now to ensure their IoT implementation remains secure so it’s not too late.
To protect against potential risks with insecure devices, organizations should take steps such as segmenting networks so if one device gets compromised, other areas will be left untouched.
It’s also important to create an extensive inventory of all your IoT products so you can closely monitor them for any strange behavior that may indicate a hack, and use security analytics tools to monitor for strange or unusual traffic patterns.
These strategies will help you gain a better perspective of how your IoT setup is being used so you can more easily detect if something isn’t acting right – but what about the devices themselves?
Many organizations have been using traditional endpoint protection software on their network to protect against cyberattacks, but they aren’t necessarily designed for this type of threat.
But there are solutions out there now which really work well for protecting these systems because they offer encryption algorithms that can effectively stop any malware from executing without completing the proper handshake process first.
This means the data would be useless even if hackers were able to compromise an IoT device because it has no value without being able to decrypt it.
This is a great way for security teams to ensure their entire network doesn’t get compromised even if they’re using IoT devices without the latest security protocols, but what about these new cybersecurity standards?
Even though numerous manufacturers are working hard on developing solutions that will strengthen protections between devices, there’s still work that needs to be done before everyone can rely on this technology.
That means organizations shouldn’t completely abandon traditional endpoint protection software yet, because there may be times when they need to supplement these technologies with something more advanced – like cognitive threat prevention.
These solutions leverage artificial intelligence (AI) which provides real-time analysis of threats and correlates them with known threats so your organization can take immediate action against attackers before they become an even bigger problem.
Because it doesn’t just rely on traditional analysis methods, cognitive threat prevention works to actively stop things that may not be considered a real risk today – but could become an issue in the future when new malware is released that defeats existing security protocols.
This helps your organization stay one step ahead of cybercriminals who are always releasing new types of malware, and make sure you’re protected against any type of threat – no matter what’s coming next.
With these tips in mind, you can ensure your organization will remain secure when using IoT devices.
Talk with our team at BlackStratus today to schedule a consultation about setting up advanced cybersecurity software for your business so you don’t need to worry about cyber attacks in the future!
BlackStratus provides cutting-edge technology that allows organizations to securely conduct business online.
They specialize in providing cybersecurity strategies that are custom-tailored to businesses of any size to help them combat cyber attacks and protect sensitive data.
The Internet of Threats (IoT) is the buzzword for panic and tension among organizations
When the Mirai Botnet compromised the security of a variety of IoT gadgets, including IP cameras and routers, in 2016, it turned them into centrally-controlled botnets.
These botnets created a traffic jam that disrupted access to the Internet for millions of individuals across the world.
Over the last several years, companies in a wide range of sectors have implemented IoT technologies for increased visibility and efficiency.
System breaches are common, and attackers are always on the lookout for innovative methods to penetrate systems and obtain access to data storage.
Any IoT system might become a preferred target for hackers, from vehicle navigation systems to smart medical gadgets.
IoT Cybersecurity: Alarming Threat Increase
Of course, the rapid expansion of the IoT market presents a significant cybersecurity risk. In the first half of 2019, attacks on IoT devices increased by three times.
According to The Symantec 2019 Internet Security Threat Report, cyberattacks on IoT environments are quickly growing in complexity.
Botnet malware, codenamed Ransomware, is a type of malicious software that targets your networked devices to obtain unauthorized access or hold them for ransom.
A botnet can be leveraged to commit additional crimes such as denial of service assaults or illicit large-scale marketing. Attacks on industrial control systems are also on the rise, as are attacks on military and business infrastructure.
IoT security is a major issue because there are no established standards accessible due to the complexity of the IoT ecosystem and a huge number of devices from a variety of manufacturers all over the world.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology (S&T) Directive has just introduced a set of best practices for protecting IoT systems that companies can follow. The policy breaks down security into three categories:
- familiarity with the technological capabilities of various software and hardware
- Authentication: Establishing the identity and origin of IoT devices to authenticate and minimize fraud.
- Maintaining, updating, and upgrading IoT security capabilities to stay ahead of hackers and cybercriminals is an ongoing process.
With those fundamental principles in mind, businesses are learning to address IoT security breaches with real new methods, according to a recent list of solutions. The following are the most successful tactics:
- Maintain accurate data on each of the IoT devices to assess the degree of risk.
- Proactively detect cyber attacks or hacking so that breaches may be anticipated and prevented on short notice.
- Restrict access to critical information on the IoT device
- Monitor administrators who have access to each device
- Make and maintain frequent backups of all data gathered by the IoT device and store it in a remote data center.
This is a timeline of how to create a comprehensive IoT security architecture that cybersecurity experts can follow.
Safeguarding the IoT Cybersecurity Ecosystem
Securing IoT devices is difficult for a variety of reasons. With pressure put on manufacturers and innovators to release new goods, security is frequently neglected in favor of time-to-market criteria.
Furthermore, many organizations are unaware of the risks that IoT poses, and they are frequently more concerned with the cost savings and convenience offered by IoT.
Gartner predicts that by the year 2022, more than 25.5% of corporate assaults will be done via IoT. Industrial IoT (IIoT) equipment has heightened stakes.
Connected IoT sensors and devices may significantly raise operational risks, from national power generation and distribution systems to worldwide manufacturing operations.
Another alternative is to protect the devices themselves. Some equipment, for example, may be left unattended 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and while they aren’t always monitored, they do require protection.
To be successful, such security solutions must first be applied to the company’s whole business platform. This might not only protect your data but also offer numerous benefits to you and your organization as a result of the protection it provides.
While securing individual IoT devices is important, organizations must also make sure their IoT networks are safe. The IoT framework provides extensive security controls and excellent user authentication to prevent intruders from gaining access.
The IoT’s Cybersecurity Landscape Currently
Privacy is a major issue in all of our IoT applications, devices, and systems where we share data. Even when users take precautions to protect their information, there are circumstances beyond their control that can compromise it.
Hackers have the ability to design attacks with an unprecedented level of sophistication, integrating data from public networks as well as personal sources such as cars, phones, home automation systems, and even refrigerators
According to an infographic from Cisco, more things are linked to the Internet than people at the moment. It continues by stating that 25 billion devices will be connected by 2015, with 50 billion devices predicted to connect in 2020.
In this rapidly changing world, all of the things that connect to the Internet are dramatically expanding the attack surface for hackers and foes. Recent research revealed that 70 percent of IoT gadgets have significant vulnerabilities.
There’s no doubt about it: our reliance on interconnected technology is jeopardizing our ability to secure it.
The security industry must learn from its errors as it develops and creates devices capable of interacting with the Internet.
Many of the most effective security measures, such as hardening the systems, using secure protocols for communication, and installing up-to-date fixes and patches, can all be utilized.
In order to design secure technology that will require a different approach and mentality in order to prevent future attacks.
For years, IT security experts have been warning the public about cyberattacks using conferences that are conducted around the world to expose new system and software vulnerabilities.
Many talks at the 2014 Black Hat conference were devoted to the IoT.
Users, on the other hand, may not be attentive to these warnings for a variety of reasons: because they are unskilled in technical exploits, flaws, and threats; or simply because they do not care.
Understanding the IoT attack surface
Getting a handle on the IoT devices in your digital ecology is the first step in protecting them.
That includes everything from your company’s smart refrigerator to the IoT technology it uses to monitor assets. After all, you can’t protect what you don’t know about.
Taking stock of each connected device deployed throughout your company is one approach to getting a handle on your IoT network.
This isn’t always simple, especially if your business has a big IT infrastructure or has acquired or installed IoT devices without the help of IT.
In addition, since these inventory counts are a one-and-done procedure, they don’t take into account new devices that become available.
An attack surface scan is a more effective approach to grasping and managing IoT cyber risk. In real-time, as required, attack surface monitoring may quickly validate your IoT presence.
The examination will also evaluate each device for cybersecurity vulnerability, allowing you to make informed, comparative judgments about where you should focus your cybersecurity efforts.
For example, if a healthcare system has 50,000 devices spread across five locations, the scan will show all of them and identify any security flaws or malware infections by location.
It will also show which assets have the most risk exposure.
Teams can use these insights to pinpoint potential vulnerabilities and concentrate security efforts on those devices that are critical to the continuity of operations or have a significant amount of sensitive data.
What are some examples of Internet of Things cybersecurity breaches?
There are many instances of how prevalent IoT security failures are. Many appear to be too far-fetched to be genuine, but they are!
Take the case of two CISO Magazine examples, which demonstrated how hackers gained access to someone’s identity and financial information via a remote connection to a coffee maker.
Coffee machines with smart capabilities allow users to operate them remotely through their smartphones, even allowing voice commands through Amazon Alexa that can be exploited. Coffee makers aren’t built with security in mind, making them an easy entry point into connected systems.
Connected network printers are another type of access point.
According to research firm Quocirca, 60 percent of firms in the United Kingdom, United States, France, and Germany suffered a printer network data breach in 2019, resulting in an average cost of more than USD 400,000 for businesses.
Hackers utilize printers that are often not well protected as an ingress point into the network and may even be used to form part of botnets that execute DDOS attacks within the company.
Reduce IoT Security Risk by incorporating Evident Technology
The Wild West of IoT security is most acutely felt in third-party IoT risk management. The security of those devices is difficult to ensure because of various levels of cybersecurity among third-party vendors.
And it appears that the answer is to combine the best of both worlds to produce a superior security solution.
Perhaps that’s why, according to a recent Ponemon Institute study, six in 10 businesses do not monitor third-party-built devices for cyber risk.
The problem is exacerbated by a number of factors, including IoT development, a lack of centralized IoT risk management systems, and senior corporate leaders and board members’ lack of engagement and understanding of IoT risk.
The study’s authors found that the biggest risks to enterprises are as follows
- Third-party software failures
- Data breaches (both accidental and deliberate)
- Ransomware attacks
- Corporate espionage
- Offshoring moves without adequate preparation or
- Training of workers in target countries for sensitive information like finances.
These findings underscore the importance of developing a strong third-party risk management program and being more aware of the vendors with whom your company does business.
To ensure that they develop safe IoT components, you must conduct regular security audits and assessments. Your company should also try to bridge the gap between IT and senior leadership by using better governance if applicable.
Cybersecurity measures For Devices connecting to the Internet of Things (IoT) are critical
Because risk is always changing, you must continuously monitor each IoT device for cybersecurity flaws and suspicious activity.
To accomplish this, you’d previously need to do intermittent security audits. However, these are expensive and time-consuming, providing a snapshot of your organization’s IoT initiatives at a point in time. These assessments are also difficult to scale cost-effectively.
This is why more organizations are adopting continuous monitoring technologies, such as security ratings.
Security ratings are a data-driven method of evaluating the security performance of each IT asset in your company’s portfolio, including IoT devices.
Ratings are based on observable risk factors, such as open ports, misconfigured software, vulnerable systems, exposed credentials, and ineffective security controls.
A numerical score ranging from 250 to 900 is used to evaluate security together, making it simple for everyone to comprehend your company’s ability to withstand IoT-based cyber-attacks.
Because security ratings are collected in near real-time, security experts can swiftly react before a breach by a malicious actor occurs.
Final Thoughts on IoT Cybersecurity
Organizations can utilize proactive methods to reduce the risk of harmful devices and data breaches.
Blockchain, for example, is a new technology that may be used to secure IoT devices and decentralize them.
If a group of devices is asked to carry out unusual operations, they could send alerts through a single point of entry, limiting the capabilities of an attacker.
It’s important that security is given top importance when it comes to the Internet of Things. Organizations that have implemented this technology will face a monumental challenge in securing it; it’s critical that security be addressed first.
Businesses with IoT security concerns might focus their attention back on the primary goals of IoT—to improve processes, enhance the quality of service, lower costs, and improve the customer experience.