The Internet of Things (IoT) has provided innumerable benefits to the businesses, but it also poses new risks. Therefore IoT security is the need of the hour.
What is IoT Security?
Internet of Things devices is literally everywhere. From cars and air conditioners to monitoring devices on assembly lines, objects around us are connected to the internet. Because of the staggering speed at which the IoT market is growing, Juniper research has estimated that the number of IoT sensors and devices is expected to exceed 50 billion by 2022.
IoT devices offer lifestyle benefits to consumers. Businesses are adopting IoT devices due to a high potential for savings. For example, Harley-Davidson reduced costs by 7% and increased net margin by 19% by turning their York, Pennsylvania based plant to a ‘smart factory’ using IoT devices. Though IoT devices can significantly increase the productivity for businesses, they also come with risks. As IoT devices are connected to the internet, they are at a higher risk to be hacked.
To sufficiently protect the network, clear understanding of the security vulnerabilities of IoT devices is essential. One of the key IoT security issues is the ever expansion of attack surfaces due to an increasing number of endpoints. In a network, endpoints can be vulnerable, offering a point of entry to hackers and exposing the system to outside risks.
The attack surface of a network expands as new devices are connected.
Access To Sensitive Data
IoT Devices often record, have access to and stream sensitive data. Devices such as cameras and doorbells can quickly create major issues if hacked by a cybercriminal. Office devices, such as printers, are also potential access points – a compromised printer means that the attackers can view everything that is printed or scanned in an office.
Cybercriminals can introduce infected devices into networks known as botnets. These botnets can be used for DDoS attacks.
DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks sends a huge stream of network requests from infected devices to the server, computer, or network. Due to too many network requests for the target to handle, it crashes and becomes unavailable for real users.
How To Maintain IoT Security
There are certain precautions users can take to secure their devices.
Use Of Strong Passwords
Having strong passwords is always important, especially for IoT devices. Strong passwords on the rest of the network will act as a second line of defence if an attacker does gain access through a device. Having a long and strong one is important, as a compromised router can leave the whole network vulnerable.
Ensure that you have an up-to-date, secure router that is firewall enabled. A router can be the first point of attack. Having a compromised router will leave your entire network vulnerable. Installing an endpoint security solution to discover vulnerabilities in your network is essential.
Although the benefits of new technology always seem good, it’s essential to understand the risks that come with it. IoT devices have the potential to bring improvements to many industries but ensure they don’t leave your network vulnerable to malicious actors.