In the first half of 2021, IoT systems were breached more than 1.5 billion times by malicious attacks. So many people are working from home with connected devices, and enterprise networks have become so decentralized, that attackers have their pick of entry points to gain access to unsecured IoT networks. The answer to this problem is for IoT administrators to set up multiple, layered defenses to catch attacks at any point. As described in the article above, the following IoT security layers should be enough to prevent all but the most extremely sophisticated attackers from taking advantage of vulnerabilities in your system.
When all of your focus is on preventing remote attacks, it’s easy to forget that physical devices are subject to attacks as well. If a malicious actor can simply tamper with your security cameras or disable your other devices, none of your software defenses can prevent the attack from happening.
While many IoT devices don’t come with many security options, mostly because their power and processors are reserved for performing other vital functions, you can deliberately choose hardware that does take security into account. Larger enterprises that have the funding may want to develop their own tamper-proof hardware for the ultimate peace of mind.
If you don’t know a device exists on your network, how are you supposed to remember to update passwords, install security patches, and manage any other vulnerabilities? To ensure that each device on your network receives sufficient security updates, you need adequate device discovery and management capabilities on your network.
Software security is another area where IoT technology can fall short. You may need to develop your own software defenses if the devices you use don’t have their own. As you develop your own software security, remember to go beyond the obvious threats; cover any vulnerabilities opened by the programming language, libraries, and APIs that were used to code the original software. Also, remember to include a way to test for future vulnerabilities within the software.
If your IoT devices, like most, use the cloud to handle heavy computing, data processing, and storage demands, you may believe there is nothing you can do to boost security because security usually depends on whatever measures the cloud service provider chooses to implement.
You should shop for a cloud service provider that offers security measures you’re comfortable with. Once you have chosen a cloud provider, have a qualified IT administrator take a look at the system to determine which security measures your organization is responsible for versus what the cloud provider handles. They can also make sure everything is configured correctly, because these settings are usually not handled by the cloud provider.
There are several things to consider under the umbrella of application security. First, make sure you have a regular schedule of security updates, a strong firewall, and an access authorization system in place. Next, address the security vulnerabilities of any software that comes into contact with your applications. This could be anything from API integrations to communication among applications or between separate devices. And remember, no application security protocol is complete without a way to continuously monitor for threats and suspicious activity.
Most IoT networks are constantly sending and receiving a lot of data. It’s this information, after all, that makes IoT such a useful way to monitor areas remotely, keep an eye on medical patients at home, or control entire fleets of machinery. The vital importance of data is also why protecting this layer is so crucial—and complicated.
Start by designing a secure place for your data to be stored. You may have to abide by data protection legislation, so keep this in mind as you design your system. Next, limit access to your stored data by maintaining a strict password protocol and a regular regimen of security patches. When possible, use encryption practices, such as SSL, to prevent the interception of data during transmission. Finally, set up firewalls for further protection and make sure there is a monitoring system in place so you will be able to detect any potentially malicious activity.