IoT devices have the potential to become powerful attack tools. Whether hackers are stealing sensitive information or causing damage to physical assets, these smart devices have the ability to serve as entry points to a system. But the threat can be mitigated by protecting IoT devices with a solid security posture.
Authentication and encryption are two essential components of IoT security. Without them, your devices are vulnerable to both data theft and malicious actors. For example, an attacker can hack into an IoT device and steal sensitive data, change its settings, or even drain its battery. This could put lives in jeopardy, and leave your data at risk.
To ensure your IoT devices are secure, you should identify and remediate all vulnerabilities. This means updating your devices' firmware and firmware patches when the manufacturer issues them, as well as incorporating updated software into your IoT ecosystem. However, there are some instances where updates may not be as simple as they sound.
For example, some IoT devices do not use up-to-date operating systems and do not include the most secure options for authentication. In addition, many users are unaware of the dangers of using default passwords. In these cases, it is better to use stronger credentials, especially if you intend to share your device with others.
Similarly, there is an increased likelihood of a malware infection. This is because IoT devices are not based on standard mobile devices. Instead, they use modified versions of the full software. Since this is a new technology, there are no preexisting rules for security.
While IoT devices are becoming more sophisticated, they still don't offer the same level of security as traditional devices. This is due to a number of factors, including the limited computational and power capabilities of these devices. This, combined with the fact that many of them do not encrypt communications by default, makes IoT devices vulnerable to attacks.
For example, attackers could modify your pacemaker's firmware. This would allow them to control the lifesaving settings. They also could access the pacemaker's battery, and possibly drain the battery as well. This could also cause a loss of life.
In order to protect IoT devices from attackers, manufacturers should ensure that the devices are tamper-resistant. This can be done through a combination of passwords, firmware, and other security solutions. If an IoT device is tampered with, it should disassociate itself from the network. This is particularly important in outdoor environments, where an attacker could still have access to the device's sensor nodes.
To further improve IoT security, you should segment your network. This allows for firewalling IoT-specific rules, and also enables you to block compromised devices from entering your network. Moreover, this can help to limit bandwidth consumption, which is a common target for IoT-borne DDoS attacks.
Lastly, ensure your IoT devices are accounted for in your asset management system. This can be done by IoT infrastructure managers, OT teams, or your IT department.