April 28, 2021

IoT Security: The Issues, Challenges & Solutions

13 minute read

As devices and technology become smarter and more connected, the risks and vulnerabilities that they face evolve as well. The Internet of Things (IoT) has been prevalent in multiple industries over the past decade, and many companies are taking advantage of IoT to build smarter operations. According to Business Insider, it’s estimated that there will be 41 billion IoT devices by 2027. Emerging tools and technologies like smart building devices, machine learning, and 5G are enabling huge efficiency gains and more control, both at home and in the workplace. 

IoT Security

IoT can be described as the collection of devices that are connected to the Internet, globally. While you may think of the more obvious things such as smartphones and TVs, IoT also includes things such as smart watches, HVAC systems, lighting, or even the coffee pot in the office kitchen. Almost anything with an on/off switch can potentially connect to the Internet, making it part of the IoT.  

While there are lots of benefits of implementing IoT solutions, many organizations are concerned about the safety of these devices. Since they’re connected to the internet, they can be vulnerable to cyberattacks.  

What is IoT Security? 

IoT security is focused on safeguarding connected devices and the network they are connected to. IoT security is key to protecting personal information and private data that might become exposed if an IoT device – anything from a smartphone to factory equipment or smart lighting – were to become compromised. Without proper security, IoT devices can become a gateway to an organization’s network. 

What are the biggest threats and challenges? 

From corporate servers to cloud storage, cybercriminals can find a way to exploit information at many points within an IoT ecosystem.  

Companies need to monitor known and unknown devices. It’s already tough enough when companies are able to recognize threats, but if vulnerable devices fly under the radar that is a huge cause for concern. It’s important that organizations have the ability to stop rogue devices early in the chain to prevent any information being accessed or stolen.  

While they may look innocent enough, fake login credential requirements are one of the most common methods of stealing information. Otherwise known as evil twins, hackers can create new Wi-Fi networks that look like public domains to trick employees into entering sensitive information into websites and platforms, compromising the company’s data. 

IoT devices can be an extensive source of information for attackers, especially those with camera or audio feeds that can be infiltrated and monitored off-site. Because of this, employees need to be careful to prevent their devices from becoming eavesdropping tools. With the rise of BYOD policies, this has only become a bigger issue as employees bring more unprotected personal devices into the workplace. Encryption is a powerful tool for data security but also comes with its own challenges and dependencies. Many devices don’t have the processing or storage capabilities required for strong encryption.  

What industries are most affected by IoT security threats? 

Government 

Government agency facilities require protection for highly sensitive information. Inpixon Aware is trusted by high security and federal government agencies to help comply with directives and secure areas with top secret and classified conversations, materials, and activities.  

Corporate 

Most corporate organizations have trade secrets that are restricted to select employees. A big risk for businesses is having listening devices in boardrooms, or having unknown devices used by unsuspecting employees that allow hackers to access company resources.  

Healthcare 

Patient data breaches are a threat for healthcare organizations, as patient data is typically highly sensitive and needs to be protected heavily. 

Why is IoT Security important and what are the consequences if poorly managed? 

IoT security is a crucial measure to have in place for all companies as it protects information from being accessed by hackers or other unknown users. The consequences of poorly managed IoT security include information being leaked, sensitive information being accessed by users who shouldn’t have access, and company infrastructure being infected by viruses.  

A notable breach that happened recently is the breach of security camera startup Verkada, which gave hackers access to videos from nearly 150,000 cameras. This included cameras in schools, hospitals, and prisons. This event pushed organizations to review their security plans more closely. Hackers were able to gain access through a phishing attack, but they’ve also been known to target lower-level employees and phish their credentials, only to move laterally through the infrastructure once they have access. 

One major attack vector for organizations are rogue devices; being able to detect and locate rogue access points early on, is paramount. Preventing hackers from gaining access is the best strategy companies can take to avoid the loss of sensitive information.  

What processes are available to combat IoT security threats? 

Some things to consider to overcome security issues include these tips:  

  • Monitor mobile devices 
  • Automatic antivirus updates 
  • Create strong login credentials 
  • Deploy end-to-end credentials 
  • Install software updates on a timely basis 
  • Keep track of device available features 
  • Choose an expert cybersecurity provider 

What to consider when evaluating IoT security solutions 

When considering IoT security solutions, companies need to secure the device, the cloud, and the channel between devices and the cloud. By implementing mobile device management (MDM) policies, security teams can monitor which devices are known and which ones are unauthorized.  

Leverage Inpixon’s indoor security solution to cultivate situational awareness within buildings by detecting wireless devices and their movements. Inpixon Aware gives organizations visibility into their facilities and a robust wireless detection solution in a single, live security dashboard that integrates with your other wireless security systems. This allows organizations to make key decisions around security, risk mitigation, and public safety at scale. 

 

This blog post contains forward looking statements which are subject to risks and uncertainties. Please click here to learn more.

Topic(s): IoT , Security

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