Internet of Things(IoT) is rising at a fast rate with the introduction of IPv6 and the large rollout of Wi-Fi networks. The analysts predict that by 2020, the number of active wireless connected devices would reach 40 billion. The positive point is that we can do stuff we’ve never imagined before. But there’s also a negative point to IoT as with every good thing. It’s becoming an attractive target for cybercriminals. Increasing connected devices mean increasing avenues of attack and more incentives for hackers to threaten us unless we move to resolve this growing security concern. Therefore, we need to learn what is IoT Security?

What is IoT Security?

IoT Security is the area dealing with making connected devices and their data secure and safe from hackers and data breaches. Security is the biggest concern in the current era of data and information, and the security of IoT systems is as important as the security of software systems. 

Cyber resilience in an IoT environment is even more critical. Because any failures or mishaps could lead to far more serious concerns as compared to conventional IT systems. With IoT connectivity, a wide range of operational assets are linked to the process. This makes not only the data liable to damage but also impacts the suppliers and customers differently.
 
About 4 years ago, an attack launched on a service provider by an IoT botnet led to huge collapses all across the internet. The malware had led to the computer automatically logging into vulnerable devices and infecting them with malware.
 
So with the physicality of these systems and the potential of a massive breach. It is even more important to protect the data and servers to ensure that all security issues are in control and any potential threats/breaches are avoidable.

Ensure IoT Security

Unfortunately, not much work is being done on IoT devices’ security. While businesses can’t stop IoT attacks in eternity. They can be vigilant in minimizing network security threats and safeguarding valuable data and IT systems. In a connected setting, this would allow devices to issue alerts when asked to perform unusual tasks. Thereby, reducing a hacker’s capabilities through a single entry point. Below we discuss some of the steps you can take to make your IoT devices and data safe.

Be Committed

Development agencies need to more focus to improve security. They must appoint or hire a specific team to do the task. They should ensure that safety measures appropriate and at all levels of the design and development lifecycle. It involves ensuring that before shipping there are no vulnerabilities and reminding users of security updates.

Deactivate UPnP

UPnP is the protocol that allows the discovery of networked devices by other networked devices. Although this is necessary for scalability. It allows the identification and monitoring of devices. The design makes it easier to deploy network devices without configuring them manually by helping them discover each other automatically. The concern is that, due to bugs in the UPnP protocol, hackers may also be able to discover them from outside your local network. It’s best to completely turn off UPnP to improve the security of your product.

Hire Reliable Vendors

Companies that provide you with goods and services are as vulnerable as you are to IoT risks. For many chief information security officers, this is a major concern. Especially those who rely on a complex third-party supply chain for the products they offer. In this space, monitoring and regulating vendor practices is a challenging task that many security teams deem impossible. But organizations must themselves pay attention to c=vetting the suppliers before buying devices. Make sure that they apply the least security standards to their devices. 

Use Cloud Services Cautiously

Many IoT devices rely on cloud services, but the internet connection could be a real problem for something to work. Not only will it not function when the network is down, but it can also synchronize sensitive data or offer another possible route to your home. Make sure that you read the privacy policy of the company and receive reassurance about authentication and data protection. It is a must to use popular and authentic cloud storage and computation services in this regard.

Build A Defense Against IoT identity spoofing

Many times hackers pose as general members of the public or come off as genuine businesses to lure others into their trap. With the growing access to the internet, businesses and their IT departments must regularly verify the authenticity of the IoT devices that they’re using to communicate with regularly.
 
Whether it’s through the legitimization for critical communications, software updates or downloads, or the physical verification of device manufacturers, all businesses must establish security systems that provide the utmost protection to the IoT devices.

Give IoT A Network Of Its Own

While many types of control devices connect wireless, they need an individual connection that is again susceptible to threats and malfunction.
 
Since these devices such as thermostats and lighting controls need a particular connection. The recommendation is always to develop a more secure device that you can put on your own wireless network. Separate from the production network, and allowing for internet access only.
 
This would mean creating a separate service set identifier (SSID) and virtual LAN while also having the capacity to route any traffic through a firewall for the greatest protection.
 
This helps to not only segregate the wireless network but also enables remote access and management from centralized locations. This could be available in machines/devices that need internet access but don’t give the owner much control. So, you end up putting it on a separate network, away from the production aspect so it can function on its own.

Assess Your Own Devices

Organizations need to track all network connections and control traffic flow from and to their devices. To determine the level of access they should have, to keep them patched and up-to-date. Moreover, to protect end-to-end data to preserve its integrity, devices need evaluation. An alert should be flagged when unknown devices are connecting to the network. Knowing what devices are linking to each other and what they do is a prerequisite for proper security.

Asset Identification And Management

While mapping one’s IoT devices onto the network is important, it is even more important to perform a further discovery to ensure that any loose ends are taken care of beforehand.
 
This discovery could be available through interacting with stakeholders within the same line of business to understand their IoT-related projects and build a management system that caters to a wide range of needs.
 
Moreover, with active network analysis, the various subnets and enclaves of the network can be scanned to figure out any potential problems. If this isn’t applicable or if the risk of unexpected failures is high, a passive analysis must available through the installation of network probes that will help discover data about device identification and information about network usage patterns – all data that can better secure operating systems and protect personal data.

Conclusion

There is no stopping IoT in the enterprise for better or for worse. Devices multiply, hackers become more creative, and with each passing day, the threats become greater and potentially devastating. If you don’t feel properly prepared, now is the time to get started. Research as much as you can and follow the best practices to secure your services and devices against intruders.

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