Unleashing the Power of IoT: A Look into the Future of Connected Devices

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

What is the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of physical devices that are connected to the internet, like smart home appliances, wearables, and even cars. IoT allows you to monitor and control these devices remotely through the Internet. IoT security means making sure that these devices are protected from cyber-attacks and other malicious activities.

The IoT has been around for decades but only recently has it gained popularity due to its ability to improve efficiency, reduce costs and increase productivity for businesses. 

The benefits of this technology include:

  • Remote monitoring - You can keep track of your assets from anywhere in real-time by accessing them through an app on your phone or computer. This helps you avoid theft because if someone tries stealing something from your business, you'll know about it immediately.

  • Improved safety - If there's an emergency at work such as a fire breaking out or flooding happening somewhere inside the building, then having cameras installed throughout will allow employees who aren't present during those events to see what's happening so they know how to best respond. 

Why is IoT Security Important?

While IoT is a great way to make your company more efficient, it also introduces new security risks. If you don't have the right protections in place, hackers could steal your data or even cause physical damage.

In this section, we'll look at some of the most common threats facing small businesses today and how you can protect yourself from them.

Beware of the Botnet.

IoT botnets are networks of compromised Internet of Things (IoT) devices that are controlled by cybercriminals for malicious purposes. These botnets can be used to launch various types of cyberattacks, including Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, malware distribution, spam campaigns, and cryptocurrency mining.

IoT botnets are created when cybercriminals take advantage of weaknesses in IoT devices. Once a device is compromised, it becomes part of the botnet and can be controlled by the attacker.

One of the most infamous IoT botnets is Mirai, which was responsible for a massive DDoS attack in 2016 that took down large portions of the internet, including major websites like Twitter, Netflix, and Reddit. Mirai was able to infect hundreds of thousands of IoT devices, including routers, cameras, and digital video recorders, and use them to launch the attack.

IoT botnets pose a significant threat to the security of IoT devices and the networks they are connected to. They can be difficult to detect and control, and can cause significant damage to businesses and individuals alike. 

How Might Your IoT Devices Be Exposed?

Devices can be exposed to botnets through a variety of vulnerabilities and security flaws. Here are some common ways that devices can become part of a botnet:

  1. Weak or Default Passwords: Many IoT devices come with weak or default passwords that are easy to guess or hack. This can allow cybercriminals to gain access to the device and any sensitive data it may hold.

  2. Malware and Ransomware: IoT devices can be infected with malware or ransomware, which can cause data loss, system downtime, and financial losses.

  3. Physical Tampering: IoT devices are often placed in public areas or left unattended, making them vulnerable to physical tampering. Attackers can gain access to the device and steal sensitive data or install malware.

  4. Lack of Encryption: Many IoT devices lack proper encryption, making it easy for attackers to intercept and steal sensitive data.

  5. Lack of Updates: IoT devices can become vulnerable to attack if they are not regularly updated with the latest security patches.

  6. Unsecured Networks: Many IoT devices connect to unsecured networks, making it easy for attackers to intercept data or gain access to the device.

Creating an IoT Security Strategy

When it comes to IoT security, there are 4 key steps you can take to protect yourself:

  1. Define your security goals. What do you want your business to achieve? Do you want to improve customer service by providing real-time information about their orders or streamline operations by automating tasks? These are just a few examples of how IoT can benefit businesses.

  2. Create a policy that aligns with these goals and describes how they will be achieved. For example, if one of your objectives is improving customer service by providing real-time information about their orders or streamlining operations by automating tasks then an acceptable use policy might state "IoT devices must only be used for legitimate business purposes; employees must not use them for personal reasons."

  3. Create a risk assessment plan based on the threats identified in your security policy (i.e., what could go wrong). This involves identifying weaknesses associated with each threat as well as ways to reduce those risks by using things like firewalls and encryption. 

  4. Data Protection: If someone gets access to your customer information, they can use it for identity theft or other fraudulent purposes. You also need to keep track of all the devices connected via IoT so that if one gets hacked there's no risk of losing everything at once--and because each device has its own IP address (the unique number assigned by an internet service provider), tracking down who did what becomes easier than ever before.

The goal here isn't just preventing breaches but also minimizing downtime due to outages caused by malware infection. Lengthy downtimes can cause a decrease in sales and lead to lost revenue - and we know you don’t want that!

Wrapping Up

Once you’ve selected a solution that meets these criteria, make sure to follow best practices for IoT security such as: securing network access, using strong passwords and enabling two-factor authentication, patching and updating devices regularly, and monitoring your network for suspicious activity. 

By taking these steps, you can reduce the risk of cyber-attacks and protect your business and customers from harm.

Keep in mind that IoT security is not a one-time event, it's an ongoing process. As new threats emerge and technology evolves, it's important to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices for IoT security. This may involve regular training for your employees or working with a trusted IT partner who can help you stay on top of the latest developments in IoT security.