This article discusses the rising trend in risks that come along with IoT devices, what may happen when an attacker takes control of a single device, and how you can prevent becoming victim of an attack.
The Internet of Things (IoT) offers significant economic opportunities for many industries and enables exciting innovations that span various fields, including childcare, eldercare, healthcare, energy, manufacturing, and transportation. With IoT, businesses and organizations can benefit from remote monitoring, predictive maintenance, and smart spaces. They can also take advantage of connected products and customer-facing technologies such as mobile apps to simplify operations, reduce costs, and accelerate time-to-market. As technology experts and analysts predict a wider use of IoT devices and apps in the future, along with the continuous evolution of devices, services, and apps that intersect with the IoT space, organizations are keen on taking advantage of the business benefits they offer. However, it is common for companies to approach IoT solutions cautiously, given the genuine security concerns that come with IoT deployments. These deployments pose new and unique security, privacy, and compliance challenges to businesses around the globe.
While traditional cybersecurity focuses on software, IoT security is more complex due to the convergence of the cyber and physical worlds. Many IoT scenarios rely on device connectivity for maintenance, troubleshooting, data transfer, and user interaction. Companies can benefit from IoT efficiencies such as predictive maintenance, but adhering to IoT security standards to protect operational technology from breaches and threats is crucial.
In the current era of automation, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT), many businesses have restructured their operations to embrace digital transformation. For some, COVID-19 urged this necessitation for a shift, which compelled remote working. As a result, the adoption of IoT devices has surged, making securing these devices from cyber attacks imperative.
Despite the convenience and efficiency that IoT devices offer, it is crucial to be aware of the security risks of cyber attacks associated with their use. It is essential to take proactive measures to ensure the safety and integrity of these devices and mitigate cyber threats
IoT devices are vulnerable to cyber attacks due to their lack of built-in security, making them a prime target for hackers. Moreover, the interconnected nature of these devices makes it easier for hackers to compromise multiple devices by hacking just one device. Therefore, taking proactive measures for securing IoT devices before utilizing their benefits is imperative. According to the Allied Market Research report, the IIoT market was valued at $115 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach $197 billion by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 7.5% from 2017 to 2023.
IoT cybersecurity attacks can threaten:
- Processes—there are potential risks that could compromise the functionality of processes within your control, such as web services. Additionally, external entities pose a multitude of threats, such as users and satellite feeds, that interact with the system but are not under the application’s control.
- Communication, also called data flows—threats related to data transfer can occur along the communication path between devices and between devices and field gateways or between devices and cloud gateways.
- Storage—threats to temporary data queues, operating systems (OS), and image storage.
How to Secure your IoT Devices
1. Change default router settings
It’s common to use the default name provided by the manufacturer for your router, but this can compromise the security of your private Wi-Fi. To ensure IoT device security, your network and Wi-Fi serve as the first line of defense against potential hackers, as many devices connect via Wi-Fi. Adjust the privacy and security settings from their default values, as such settings may benefit the manufacturer more than yourself. Avoid online shopping on public Wi-Fi, as others may access your personal data.
2. Disconnect IoT devices when they are not needed
It is crucial to consider the functionalities that you require from your IoT device. Many modern devices, such as refrigerators and televisions, can connect to the internet. However, it is not necessary to connect all devices to the internet. We recommend that you carefully examine the features of your devices to determine which devices require internet connectivity to function properly.
3. Select a strong password and avoid reusing it excessively.
Using a common and simple password for IoT devices can leave the front door open for hackers. Strong and secure passwords are the best defense against hackers. It is important to use a new and unique password for each device, as if a hacker manages to guess one password, they could potentially gain access to every device that uses that password. While it may be inconvenient to remember multiple passwords, it is essential for securing IoT devices. You can write them down in a physical notebook, but avoid keeping electronic records.
4. Check Your Network Firewall Status
Firewalls are the first line of defense for companies. These devices monitor all traffic to and from a network, and block certain traffic based on their rules database. Next-generation firewalls feature advanced threat detection and remediation to respond automatically when a breach or potential breach is detected.
Organizations must ensure that the firewalls built into network routers are enabled, and change the default password on all network devices.
5. Regularly update your software and firmware
Firmware helps keep you safe by providing the latest security patches and reducing the risk of cyber attacks. You can address any vulnerabilities or exploits as they arise and ensure the security of your IoT devices.
Most IoT manufacturers provide regular updates or allow users to check for new updates and security patches on their websites. Since IoT devices lack an additional layer of protection, regular updates are critical for their security. Updating IoT device software helps ensure the device has the latest anti-malware and antivirus measures. Additionally, it helps to address security vulnerabilities present in older software versions. Hackers are constantly improving their methods to invade your privacy. It is better to keep your software up-to-date and prepare for potential attacks.