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Securing IoT Devices Against Potential Cyber Attacks

 Published: October 31, 2020  Created: November 22, 2019

By Vivek Kumar

These days the Internet of Things (IoT) is multiplying at a rapid pace as more connected devices are hitting the consumer, commercial, and industrial markets. However, this proliferation has also created a new ground for cyber criminals seeking actively to compromise IoT devices with injecting malware. Considering a report, almost 21 percent of companies reported a data breach or cyber attack due to unsecured IoT devices last year, while 16 percent reported IoT-based attacks.

However, some countries’ governments now are taking a step further to secure IoT devices as the numbers of these devices are set to make a big leap beyond 41 billion by 2025. In this way, California is going to introduce a new Internet of Things Security Law on January 1, 2020, which will require all IoT devices to be outfitted with reasonable security protection.

How Attackers Target Connected and IoT Devices

In home networks, most attacks are easily able to circumvent the security of low-cost models of IP cameras. And most of these inexpensive devices are all based on a similar blueprint, which means if a vulnerability is found in one device, it may also work against other models.

In IoT devices, as most of these are known to have vulnerabilities and allowing attackers to remotely access or control them, some have been found to have feeble passwords that can’t be changed. Thus, this weakness in the IoT products can potentially provide the opportunity to hackers with an easy way to enter in other devices connected to the network.

So, there is a need that groups or individuals that deploy IoT devices in their environments should strengthen their security measures. Conversely, manufacturers that make connected products should make sure that they are secure by design.

Best Practices to Safeguard IoT Devices

Ensuring enterprise security in today’s emerging connected world should be a major concern for businesses. But taking the right step can be optimistic.

Take the Risks Seriously

Safeguarding any connected device these days is just like buying insurance as most threats are newer and continue to evolve. Despite all the known risks, several companies have not done much to protect their IoT devices. They delude themselves by thinking that these are not issues they have to worry about and get a bit complacent. IoT attacks are distinct from other sorts of attacks, and this may lead to a general lack of awareness and urgency. So, companies need to have proper expertise in IoT security and awareness and strong passwords in IoT devices.

Note Every Network Endpoint Added

Each endpoint added to a business network can create more areas to vulnerable and make a room for cybercriminals to compromise. According to Deloitte, organizations should bring as much of their endpoint footprint as possible under their security management. Once more of these connected devices are properly managed, incorporating security tools can become a more effective process. The global spending on IoT endpoint security is anticipated to reach over US$630 million by 2021.

Keep an Eye on Suppliers and Vendors

The source of a security breach can also be the interconnectivity of third-party hardware, software, or services. This would be a major concern for businesses. Thus, organizations need to consider how a connected device interacts with these third parties. Contracts with third, fourth, and fifth parties should address security updates and concerns. Also, enterprises should deploy a third-party risk management program to analyze the cyber risks of their third-party and supply chain partners.

Leverage Emerging Technologies

Evolving technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, among others have the ability to accomplish significant IoT security needs. In this context, Artificial Intelligence for IT operations (AIOps) has grown from an emerging category into a necessity for IT, as per Deloitte. The platform is distinctively apt to build a baseline for normal behavior and for finding out subtle deviations, oddities and trends. So, organizations can ensure their security through the design approach in tandem with an AIOps approach to avert and detect cyberattacks.

In brief, as IoT devices will increase rapidly, hackers will also become more creative, resulting in the risks that will become more profound and potentially devastating. However, making a foundational step towards security can be adequate for IoT devices.

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