Many critical business, safety and health decisions are based on data. This information must be reliable, so IoT security must be end-to-end.
Attacks on connected devices can have far-reaching consequences, from turning off a connected car’s brakes to administering too much insulin to a patient. Every IoT device should be regarded as a potential gateway to an organization’s network.
Encryption is an essential security measure that must be built into IoT devices. It prevents hackers from accessing the data being transmitted over networks. Encryption can provide confidentiality, authentication, integrity and nonrepudiation. It should be used for both data in transit and data at rest. It is also crucial for IoT devices that connect to mobile apps. For example, a business can require employees to use password-protected accounts and password vaults when working on their smartphones, which helps to close off one method that cybercriminals commonly use for attacks.
Other cybersecurity measures are important as well. For example, a business should implement a cloud access security broker (CASB) to protect IoT devices connecting to their network. CASBs help to identify IoT devices that are not managed, and they help businesses create and enforce IoT device policies that ensure security best practices are followed.
A good IoT security policy should require all devices to use strong passwords and to update their passwords regularly. Businesses should also use encrypted communications and turn off features such as Universal Plug and Play, similar to the Plug and Play feature available on PCs to automatically install printers and external drives. Another option is to set up a system of forced password changing after a certain amount of time has elapsed, which helps to close off yet another way for hackers to gain entry to an IoT device.
A password (also referred to as a passcode or a pin) is an access control mechanism that confirms identity and protects digital information from cyberattacks. This is particularly important because stolen credentials often serve as a gateway to other devices, accounts, and networks in the home or workplace. Using strong passwords and installing security software is essential to ensure IoT connectivity technologies remain secure from hacking attempts.
A good password consists of at least one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter, one number and one special character. It also must be unique to each system or service used. It’s important to avoid using common words or phrases because a dictionary attack is easy for hackers to uncover your password and gain access to a device or system.
A password vault or other means of securely storing passwords is also recommended. This helps to ensure that employees do not write down passwords where cybercriminals can easily hack them. Passwords should be changed regularly; two-factor authentication is recommended for additional protection.
It’s also crucial to regularly stay informed of publicly-disclosed vulnerabilities and update devices, including firmware. This helps to cover security gaps that threat actors can exploit to gain unauthorized access to IoT devices and the information they house.
When a device is connected to an IoT network, there is always the risk that someone will hack it and access its unencrypted data or use it as a foothold in other systems. This is why it’s important to monitor the security of an IoT solution with tools that verify the identity of devices and networks, check for malware or DDOS attacks and alert you when something doesn’t look right.
When it comes to monitoring, it is also necessary to keep software, and firmware updates current. Updates can eliminate security vulnerabilities that could make a device vulnerable to attack. Unfortunately, manufacturers often place less of a priority on updating the firmware in IoT devices because they are more concerned with time-to-market metrics. Moreover, consumers must understand the importance of keeping their IoT devices up-to-date.
IoT connectivity solutions need to protect devices and data with technologies that include FOTA (Firmware Over The Air) updates, countermeasures and security telemetry from the device and managed security services to ensure long-term return on investment. Leaving security as an afterthought leaves IoT products vulnerable and exposes customers and manufacturers to potentially undesirable litigation. The best way to avoid these risks is to consider safety early in the process and build it into your IoT product. It’s much more cost-effective and efficient than adding it after a breach.
As IoT devices grow, security must be prioritized at every stage. This includes considering how the device is designed, built and operated. A cybersecurity review by an independent third party is a good way to identify potential vulnerabilities. It can also help with best practices for implementing security in the IoT ecosystem. Implementing security at the start is much cheaper and more effective than adding it after a breach occurs.
Another crucial factor in IoT security is authentication. This involves creating a secure identification method unique to each device. This can be done using passwords, certificates, or digital signatures. It can also be accomplished by generating and storing key pairs in a hardware device, such as an HSM (hardware security module). Sometimes, the keys are stored in software or memory, which is less secure than in a hard-drive-based system.
One of the biggest challenges for IoT devices is that they are vulnerable to attacks because they communicate through public-access networks, like WiFi. They also use a variety of protocols, from the well-known Bluetooth and NFC to nRF24, 443MHz, LoRaWAN and optical, infrared communication. Hackers can intercept these messages and gain access to sensitive data. An example was when hackers broke into Target and stole millions of customer credit card numbers through an IoT-enabled HVAC sensor.