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Cybersecurity IoT

Lock I(o)T Up: Crucial Considerations For Securing IoT

The Internet of Things has made for a unique, highly connected world. Many of us benefit from this technology in our personal lives every day through use of devices like smart appliances, fitness trackers, and smart assistants like Alexa or Siri. However, businesses of every size and in every industry are taking advantage of this technology to help their enterprises thrive in the 21st century. IoT technology does this by giving businesses the ability to approach complex situations in creative, technologically advanced ways without costing as much to the company as massive hardwired renovations and equipment investments. According to a report from BI Intelligence, businesses which choose to adopt IoT should expect increased productivity, can experience increased productivity, reduced operating costs and expansion into new markets.

Biggest Risks to IoT Security

Unmanaged, Wild devices

Unmanaged devices are among the biggest threats to a business that has been immersed in the world of IoT. Fifty-one percent of businesses’ IT teams are unaware of all of the devices which are touching their professional networks. On top of this, a Principal Analyst at ZK Research, Zeus Kerravala says that the remaining half of this surveyed group find themselves playing a guessing game as to which devices are connected to their networks to determine which devices are on their network, which almost always create security issues. He says, “Shadow IoT is becoming a real security challenge, as it’s not enough to have the visibility into what is touching your network, but you need a solution like Ordr’s that allows you to resolve the issues in a scalable automated fashion.”

Wanted: Iot Security Specialists

There is also a dire need for IoT security specialists to become a normal piece of the whole pie which makes up a cybersecurity team. Over half of those surveyed stated that 20% or more of their company’s cybersecurity budget was dedicated to IoT security. Despite this, teams do not have dedicated IoT specialists. Though this may seem a bit excessive, it may mean the difference between secure IoT devices and networks versus a cyber-attacked company. An IoT security specialist can provide focused approaches to fight back against emerging and existing threats as well as monitor for any abnormalities which may exist.

Attack of the Devices

Botnets are risks which occur when malicious actors infect a multitude of devices and bring them together into one network to use as an army in cyber-attacking. The most common cyber attack these malicious networks are used for are DDoS attacks. This is just one example of how IoT devices can be used to attack. A major industry which relies on IoT-enabled devices is the healthcare industry as it is utilizing this technology to advance the way patients are taken care of at home and in doctors’ offices. IoT devices help to make things like EKGs and accurate diabetes readings possible for people from their homes. In this world, an IoT hack or attack can have real life, sometimes fatal repercussions if cybercriminals dismantle the right – or wrong – thing for a patient. Digital and physical attacks are major risks when it comes to IoT tech.

Securing the Future

The need for securing the world of IoT has become so prevalent that the US Government created the IoT Security Improvement Act of 2019. This Act would require heightened device security standards to be implemented across the board, particularly when it comes to government purchased devices. According to it’s own estimates, Congress anticipates the number of IoT devices in the world to more than double (from 10 to 21.5 BILLION devices) within the next five years. While taking IoT device security seriously is a major step in the right direction, there are some actions that need to be taken on a daily basis in order to secure the future of the world of IoT.

  1. Secure Your Networks Ensuring that your both your regular business operations network and IoT networks are secure not only benefits your business or home, but it also reaffirms that the devices which connect to your network do not become corrupted by connecting to it.
  2. Ensure Secure Authentication Requiring things like multi-factor authentication, biometrics, and other formats of authentication can help to verify that only valid users access your network through verified devices, preventing further vulnerability.
  3. Invest in Cyber Teams – While having the latest cybersecurity software can help add a single layer of protection to your business, real life cyber teams who can monitor and protect your IoT network are crucial to the long-term success of a business. These teams are further strengthened by specialized IoT staff who can be aware of emerging IoT threats on top of those typical cybersecurity threats seen.

Image by Macrovector for Freepik.