Internet of Things (IoT) Security

The term IoT, or Internet of Things IoT has become one of the most important technologies of the 21st
century, and it simply refers to the collective network of connected devices (smart devices) each with its
unique identifier automatically collecting and sharing data over a network. These devices range from
ordinary household objects to sophisticated industrial tools.
The fast development and acceptance of IoT technology have fueled a shift in business operations, with
IoT devices already account for one-third of all devices on enterprise networks. The data gathered by
these devices gives useful insights that drive real-time choices and enable precise predictive modeling.
Furthermore, IoT is a critical enabler of digital transformation in most businesses, with the potential to
boost labor productivity, corporate efficiency, and profitability, as well as overall employee experience.
Despite the numerous benefits and innovations enabled by IoT technology, the interconnection of smart
devices poses a significant challenge to companies in terms of major security concerns posed by
unmonitored and insecure devices connected to the network., hence the need to ensure they are
proactively secured.
IoT security is the technology segment focused on safeguarding connected devices and networks in the
internet of things (IoT). Invariably, IoT security refers to the methods of protection used to secure
internet-connected or network-based devices. IoT security is the cybersecurity strategy and defense
mechanism that protects against cyberattacks that particularly target physical IoT devices connected to
the network. Without strong security, every connected IoT device is subject to breach, compromise, and
control by a bad actor, allowing them to eventually infiltrate, steal user data and/or bring systems down.

IoT security issues and challenges (Vulnerabilities)
The first step for hardening IoT security is to perform a detailed security risk assessment that inspects
vulnerabilities in devices and network systems and user and customer backend systems. The following are
the IoT security challenges:

  1. Remote exposure: Due to their internet-supported connection, IoT devices offer a far larger attack
    surface than traditional technologies. While this access is highly important, it also allows hackers
    to interact with equipment remotely. This is why hacking campaigns such as phishing are so
    powerful. To secure assets, IoT security, like cloud security, must account for a high number of
    entry points.
  2. Unpatched vulnerabilities. These are major issues that continually plague users and
    organizations. One of the primary reasons IoT devices are insecure is a lack of computational
    capacity for built-in security. Another factor for the pervasiveness of vulnerabilities is the limited
    budget for designing and testing secure firmware, which is driven by the price point of devices
    and their relatively short development cycle. In addition to the devices themselves, Vulnerabilities
    in web apps and related software for IoT devices can compromise systems. Malware operators are
    on the lookout for such possibilities and are well-versed in older vulnerabilities.
  3. Weak authentication – Manufacturers frequently release IoT devices (e.g., home routers) with
    readily decipherable passwords, which suppliers and end users may leave in place without
    changing after installation. When these devices are left accessible to remote access, they become
    easy prey for attackers using automated scripts for bulk exploitation.
  4. Malware: Despite their minimal computational capacity, most IoT devices may be compromised
    by malware. This is something that Cybercriminals have employed well in recent years. IoT botnet
    malware is one of the most common kinds since it is both adaptable and profitable for hackers.
  5. Vulnerable APIs – As a gateway to a C&C center, APIs are commonly targeted by a variety of
    threats, including Man in the Middle (MITM), code injections (e.g., SQLI), and distributed denial
    of service (DDoS) assaults. More information about the implications of API-targeting attacks can
    be found here.
  6. Escalated Cyberattacks: Infected devices are frequently used in denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.
    Hijacked devices can also be used as an attack base to infect new machines and hide malicious
    activities, or as an access point into a corporate network for lateral movement. While companies
    may appear to be the more lucrative targets, smart homes are also subject to a surprising number
    of unforeseen cyber-attacks.
  7. Data Theft: Like everything else involved with the internet, connected devices enhance the
    likelihood of exposure online. These devices can erroneously store and target sensitive technical
    and even personal information. An IoT device contains vast amounts of data, much of which is
    unique to its users, including online browsing/purchase records, credit card details, and personal
    health information.An unsecured or inappropriately secured device leaves this data vulnerable to
    theft. Also, vulnerable devices can be used as gateways to other areas of the network they are
    deployed on, allowing for more sensitive data to be extracted.
  8. Mismanagement and misconfiguration of devices: Security oversights, poor password hygiene,
    and general device mismanagement can all contribute to the success of these threats. Users may
    also lack the knowledge and competence to adopt suitable security measures, in which case
    service providers and manufacturers must assist their clients in achieving greater protection.

IoT Security:
a. Include IoT security in the design process. Most of the IoT security risks described may be
avoided with proper planning, particularly during the research and development phase of any
consumer-, enterprise-, or industrial-based IoT device development. It is vital to enable security
by default, as well as to use the latest operating systems and secure hardware. IoT developers, on
the other hand, should be aware of cybersecurity risks at all stages of development, not just the
design phase.
b. OEMs should proactively notify users about devices running outdated software/OS versions while
users check for fixes and updates regularly: Vulnerabilities are a serious and ongoing concern in
the realm of IoT. This is because vulnerabilities might arise from any layer of IoT devices.
Cybercriminals are still using earlier flaws to infect devices, revealing how long unpatched devices
may remain online.
c. Enforcing smart password management (e.g., mandatory default password changes). For all
accounts, use strong and unique passwords. Strong passwords aid in the prevention of numerous
intrusions. Password managers can assist users in creating unique and secure passwords that can
be stored in the app or program itself.
d. Network Security: Put Wi-Fi security first. Threat actors can use networks to remotely manipulate
other people’s IoT devices. Because networks have both digital and physical components, on-
premises IoT security should consider both types of access points. Protecting an IoT network
entails ensuring port security, disabling port forwarding, and never opening ports when they are
not required; employing anti-malware, firewalls, and intrusion detection/prevention systems;

blocking unauthorized IP (Internet Protocol) addresses; and keeping systems patched and up to
date. Also, users may accomplish this by activating the router firewall, deactivating WPS and
enabling the WPA2 security protocol, and using a strong password for the Wi-Fi connection. It is
critical to ensure safe router settings. Other network security measures include:

 Network Access Control: NAC can assist in identifying and inventory IoT devices
that connect to a network. This will serve as a foundation for tracking and
monitoring devices.
 Segmentation. IoT devices that require direct internet connectivity should be
separated into their networks and have restricted access to the business network.
Network segments should be monitored for unusual activity so that proper action
may be carried out if an issue is detected.
 Security Gateways: Security gateways, which act as an intermediary between IoT
devices and the network, have the greater processing power, memory, and
capabilities than the IoT devices themselves, allowing them to integrate features
such as firewalls to ensure cybercriminals cannot access the IoT devices they
connect

e. Use of security tools and solutions. The limited capacity with which users can perform these
measures is a significant barrier that users confront when attempting to safeguard their IoT
environments. Some device settings may be limited and difficult to modify. In such instances,
users should investigate security solutions that provide multi-layered protection and endpoint
encryption to support their efforts.
f. Secure the extensive usage of GPS. Some IoT devices and apps extensively rely on GPS, which
raises security concerns. Organizations, in particular, must be careful of circumstances in which
GPS signals are blocked or even spoofed, especially if they utilize positioning systems for
production, monitoring, and other purposes. If these positioning systems are critical to a
business, monitoring the GPS signal should be available. Another alternative for the corporation
would be to employ additional positioning systems, such as Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) or
Differential GNSS (DGNSS or DGPS).
g. Training. Many existing security teams are unfamiliar with IoT and operating system security. It
is vital for security personnel to stay current on emerging or unfamiliar systems, to learn new
architectures and programming languages, and to be prepared for new security issues. To stay up
with new threats and security measures, C-level and cybersecurity personnel should get frequent
cybersecurity training.
h. Consumer education is essential. Consumers must be made aware of the risks associated with IoT
devices and supplied with security measures such as changing default passwords and installing
software patches. Consumers can also play a role in forcing device manufacturers to build secure
gadgets and refuse to use those that do not fulfill strong security requirements.

Aside from implementing these security standards, users need also be informed of current technological
advances. In recent years, there has been a greater emphasis placed on IoT security. Research on ways to
safeguard specific businesses, monitor IoT-related threats, and prepare for impending game-
changers such as 5G is ongoing. Users must realize that the Internet of Things is a dynamic and evolving
sector and that its security must constantly morph and adapt to its changes.

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