The implementation of IoT systems has changed the game for many businesses. From streamlining operations to maximising business efficiency, it’s easy to see why many companies have made the move towards IoT solutions. But what happens when our IoT systems are left vulnerable? In this article, we’ll look at 5 common IoT security issues and outline the steps you can take to keep your business safe.
In a government-backed survey conducted for UK cyber resilience between the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023, 59% of medium-sized businesses and 69% of large businesses identified cyber security breaches that had taken place within the last 12 months.
Although somewhat alarming, when we observe these figures, we are barely even scratching the surface. Many security incidents still go unreported meaning that the scale of the problem is likely to be far greater than we could ever possibly imagine.
IoT security breaches are never something to be taken lightly.
Nowadays, almost anything can be automated and as a wider range of IoT devices are made available, the risk of security threats intensifies.
The surge in demand for these devices further amplifies the issue. Given that businesses are starting to rely more heavily on IoT, safeguarding IoT systems has become paramount.
When IoT security breaches happen, the consequences can be catastrophic. System and data violations can result in operational disruptions, huge legal fees, reputational damage, and in the worst-case scenario, even put lives in danger.
Back in March 2021, Verkada, a company specialising in video security and physical access control systems were targeted by a group of hackers that gained access to their customer surveillance cameras.
These hackers were able to access camera feeds from approximately 150,000 security cameras housed in hospitals, schools, and jails, as well as companies such as Tesla and Cloudflare. In total, 97 customers had their cameras accessed, allowing the hackers to view video footage (some of which had facial recognition) and listen to audio.
Despite a number of similar stories circulating online and in the news over the last decade, many companies are still failing to protect their systems. Don’t let your business be one of them!
If your employees are frequently using easily guessable passwords, you need to act fast.
Although, at first glance, changing your password to “ILoveMyCat1234” might seem harmless, in reality, there’s nothing fun or cute about compromised passwords.
When it comes to IoT cyber security, weak passwords are one of the simplest things to fix yet, shockingly, proper password management is something that still gets overlooked by businesses all the time.
Both weak passwords and hardcoded credentials can be easily accessed by cyber attackers. Using Botnets, attackers can carry out distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks to shut down company networks and even use them to test hijacked login credentials that go undetected by security systems.
When a hacker uses a Botnet to analyse a large volume of stolen login credentials, they can then quickly determine which passwords are valid and use them to commit fraud, obtain sensitive data and carry out other malicious activities.
IoT Security Solution: To ensure all staff engage in good password hygiene, employees need to be using a range of numbers, title cases, and special characters within their passwords. These should be changed approximately every three months to adhere to best security practices.
To add an extra layer of protection to your company accounts, always apply 2FA or multi-factor authentication.
What about hardcoded passwords?
When it comes to software, hardcoded passwords are generally best avoided, so be wary of vendors that try to sell you software solutions that have hardcoded credentials built in.
Just as you’ll need to keep your passwords up to date, you’ll also need to ensure that you stay on top of your software security.
Security patches are updates that can be carried out on operating systems, web apps and different types of device firmware to spot vulnerabilities. Think of them like a lock on your front door. If your lock is broken, there’s nothing stopping someone from wandering in and stealing your possessions.
IoT Security Solution: A security patch works by fixing the "lock" on your computer or device, so that hackers can't get in. When a patch is installed, it updates your software with the latest fixes and protections that the manufacturer has created, allowing you to fix existing IoT security issues and prevent new ones from occurring in future.
Many smart devices have unnecessary or exposed network services running on them. This common security flaw can leave your devices vulnerable to malicious attacks.
Each open port on a smart device provides an opportunity for a hacker to gain access to the device's operating system or other services. That's why it's important to keep the number of open ports as low as possible to reduce the device's attack surface.
IoT Security Solution: Applying network segmentation can provide a stronger defense against security threats by dividing your network into smaller sub-networks. This can help isolate devices with sensitive data, making them less vulnerable to attacks.
If network segmentation is not possible, as a bare minimum, you should have a firewall or security gateway to make sure that any potential security breach remains contained within the device.
Unencrypted data transmission is one of the biggest threats to IoT security and, shockingly, many IoT devices do not encrypt the data they transfer, which means that, if an attacker gains access to the device's network, they can easily steal sensitive information like passwords and other data sent to and from the device.
Did you know? Failure to comply with GDPR can leave business owners with fines of up to 20 million euros which equates to roughly 17.5 million in British pound sterling.
In Article 32 of the UK GDPR, data encryption is outlined as one example of an appropriate technical measure that can be taken to ensure that personal data is processed securely.
IoT Security Solution: To avoid compromising sensitive data and information, it’s crucial to choose IoT devices that prioritise data encryption.
With proper encryption, personal information will remain safe and secure, even if a hacker manages to infiltrate your network.
Low visibility is a prevalent issue within the world of IoT since many devices are not currently tracked or monitored.
With devices frequently connecting and disconnecting from IoT networks, keeping tabs on them can become an arduous task. Unfortunately, this lack of visibility into device status can prevent organisations from detecting and responding to potential threats effectively.
When devices aren’t tracked, they are much more likely to result in data breaches, malware infections and will ultimately make your business an easier target for cybercriminals.
IoT Security Solution: To prevent potentially devastating cyber attacks, consider implementing a robust device management system so that you can effectively monitor and record all of your IoT devices.
Let’s talk IoT solutions…
Whether you want to set foot into the world of IoT or update your existing IoT network, our team of experts can provide you with secure IoT solutions that will keep your company safe.
Get in touch with us today to find out more.
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