The Internet of Things (IoT) concept has completely transformed how we perceive connectivity. With IoT, we have seen devices connecting to the internet apart from personal computers. IoT has allowed the possibility of embedding internet connectivity and relevant functions in different devices. The world has witnessed fast growth in the connectivity of televisions, refrigerators, cars, hairbrushes, air conditioners, and many other devices to the internet. At the same time, the concerns regarding privacy and security in IoT have gained paramount attention as the world recognizes the true potential of IoT.
This blog post addresses some of the most common IoT security issues and how to minimize these risks for better security.
What is IoT Security?
IoT security is a comprehensive shield encompassing tools, strategies, systems, processes, and techniques designed to safeguard every facet of the Internet of Things. This encompasses shielding physical applications, components, networks, and data connections to guarantee the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of IoT ecosystems. The landscape of security presents numerous challenges due to the consistent identification of flaws within IoT systems. A robust IoT security framework entails a comprehensive array of protective measures, including fortifying components, timely firmware updates, constant monitoring, rectifying vulnerabilities, effective access management, and swift threat response.
Common Internet of Things Security Issues:
IoT devices undoubtedly wield significant influence in the discourse on IoT security. Concentrating only on this facet of IoT fails to offer a comprehensive understanding of the rationale behind security requirements. It encompasses a range of issues, from the compromise of IoT devices resulting in potential home breaches to the looming threats posed by unauthorized rogue devices. In light of these considerations, the subsequent enumeration outlines the most pressing security concerns within the realm of the Internet of Things:
Ransomware and Hijacking of IoT Devices
Internet of Things (IoT) devices lacking robust cybersecurity measures can become susceptible targets for ransomware malware, which encrypts and restricts users’ access to their sensitive files. The situation escalates significantly when a hacker, having infiltrated the device with malware, demands a ransom payment to unlock the compromised files. This security menace poses a substantial risk to wearable technology, healthcare trackers, and smart homes. The unsettling scenario involves the prospect of homes rendered inaccessible or smart vehicles refusing to operate until the ransom demand is met.
Remote Smart Vehicle Access
One of the most unsettling scenarios within the IoT security concerns revolves around home invasions or intrusions, blurring the demarcation between the virtual and physical domains and placing users in actual, tangible peril. The proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices has seamlessly integrated them into increasing households, giving rise to the notion of smart homes. However, this evolution of home automation introduces a significant vulnerability that inadequately safeguarded devices may inadvertently disclose IP addresses. This potential for exploitation in such cases is glaring, extending even to the chilling prospect of a user’s address falling into the hands of criminal networks.
IoT-Driven Financial Crime
Companies in the electronic payment sector implementing Internet of Things (IoT) technology should brace for an uptick in financial crime and synthetic identity fraud. While certain firms within this sphere are experimenting with AI and machine learning, an increasing number of them will soon recognize the imperative of amalgamating data across various operational tiers. This amalgamation is crucial for promptly identifying fraudulent patterns and intricate indicators through applying deep learning techniques. All financial entities will confront the task of implementing these new models, often grappling with challenges related to compliance and operational efficacy.
Remote Smart Vehicle Access
An IoT security challenge closely akin to home invasions revolves around the potential hijacking of smart vehicles, a phenomenon increasingly prevalent due to integrating Internet of Things (IoT) technology within automobiles. The presence of vulnerable IoT devices within these vehicles can pave the way for substantial risks, including the remote commandeering of a smart car’s control systems. This intrusion can compromise the vehicle’s autonomous functionalities, like self-driving capabilities and the accurate detection of other vehicles on the road. Such malevolent interventions significantly threaten public safety, potentially leading to accidents.
Insufficient Testing and Lack of Updates
One concerning aspect of IoT devices pertains to the often lax approach taken by their manufacturers in terms of thorough testing and the timely provision of software updates. This negligence poses a substantial challenge, as consumers trust manufacturers’ expertise, assuming that comprehensive safety measures have been implemented. Unfortunately, owing to the rapid expansion of the Internet of Things market, many manufacturers prioritize speed in creating and releasing their products, often at the expense of thorough testing. Consistent and automatic software updates are pivotal in averting IoT security issues.
Ways to Prevent From the Internet of Things Issues
A quick remedy that comprehensively addresses this article’s security concerns and threats does not exist. Tailored strategies might be essential to effectively safeguard more specialized systems and facets of the IoT. Bearing in mind the user-related IoT security challenges outlined above, it is advisable to implement several best practices aimed at diminishing risks and preempting potential threats:
Secure the Heave Use of GPS
Certain IoT devices and applications heavily rely on GPS technology, which brings forth potential security considerations. Particularly, organizations must exercise caution when GPS signals can be disrupted or manipulated, a concern that holds weight, especially when positioning systems are integral to manufacturing, monitoring, and various other functions. In cases where these positioning systems play a pivotal role for a company, establishing mechanisms for monitoring GPS signals within the company becomes imperative. Alternatively, the company could incorporate additional positioning systems, like Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) or Differential GNSS (DGPS or DGNSS), to diversify its approach.
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Don’t Relay on Cloud Technology
Cloud technology undoubtedly offers convenience, yet it also emerges as a susceptible target for attacks, being a nascent technology with inherent vulnerabilities. IoT manufacturers often bundle cloud storage space with each device purchase. While the allure of complimentary storage is undeniable, accessing data and files stored in the cloud requires an active connection, which hackers could compromise during your cloud account usage. It’s advisable to take the initiative and carefully review the privacy safeguards provided with your cloud account. Consider enhancing your security by either safeguarding your data meticulously or, ideally, opting to store your files and data locally, beyond the potential reach of malicious actors.
Regularly Check and Update IoT Devices
As previously highlighted, the absence of updates is a significant IoT security concern. To address this, automatic updates should be implemented to ensure timely detection and installation of official updates provided by the device manufacturer. This practice applies crucial security patches to your device(s), thwarting hackers from exploiting emerging intrusion methods. The prevalence of vulnerabilities remains a persistent challenge within the realm of IoT. These vulnerabilities can stem from any layer of IoT devices, emphasizing the issue’s complexity. Even dated vulnerabilities continue to be leveraged by cybercriminals to infiltrate devices, underscoring the prolonged vulnerability of unpatched devices.
Change Passwords Often
Frequent password changes have become a standard practice for internet accounts, computers, and mobile devices in today’s digital landscape. It’s time for this practice to extend to the Internet of Things devices. Ransomware attacks have the potential to not only restrict access to IoT devices and associated platforms but also render devices inoperable and compromise user data. It’s important to note that data vulnerabilities frequently stem from the use of default, unprotected passwords. To address this concern, users can adopt a reliable password manager tool to manage secure passwords, effectively safeguarding their data from theft.
Avoid Universal Plug & Play Features
Most IoT devices’ prevalent Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) feature facilitates seamless connections between multiple devices. This prevents the need for configuring each device individually. While this undoubtedly brings convenience to the IoT environment within your home or workplace, it’s important to acknowledge that such networks are susceptible to external attacks and can be accessed with relative ease, as we’ve observed. In the unfortunate event of an attack, it could impact multiple IoT devices as malicious actors gain remote access. Disabling the Plug & Play functionality on IoT devices could offer a sense of security in this aspect.
IoT security presents a multifaceted challenge, susceptible to breaches originating from various avenues. Given the technology’s nascent stage, manufacturers and users are actively seeking remedies. Security vulnerabilities may arise from malware infiltrations, user errors, insufficient official updates, inconsistent manufacturing norms, and the presence of rogue IoT devices. To mitigate the repercussions of inadequate security, users can implement measures like segregating IoT networks, refraining from using Plug & Play functionalities, abstaining from cloud storage usage, and employing distinct, intricate passwords for their IoT devices.