Secure the IoT now - it-daily.net

Secure the IoT now – it-daily.net

Today, all sorts of things are connected to the IoT, both in homes and businesses. This is used to collect and exchange real-time data. But be careful: the ubiquitous networking also attracts cybercriminals. Therefore, devices and applications must be comprehensively protected.

From the lighthouse projects in telemedicine and smart cities, the IoT ecosystem is spreading rapidly and will soon affect people’s lives worldwide. In a sense, these IoT networks are mere data carriers designed to provide benefits based on advanced analytics. These include new business opportunities, detailed insights or reduced operating costs.

However, these benefits come with certain risks. The increasing connectivity of devices is in direct proportion to the increase in cybercrime. Securing these devices and ensuring stable performance are therefore top priorities for most businesses and institutions. This requires a proactive plan based on effective policies and frameworks.

Numerous vulnerabilities

Many cybercriminals try to exploit or damage IoT systems by targeting the weakest links in the security system. They use this to inject malware that can lead to significant financial damage and data loss. The hackers are not only interested in money, but also in attacks on critical infrastructure and national security. This can become a matter of life and death.

Recent studies show that the current security standards are insufficient and many manufacturers of IoT network devices do not build in adequate protection measures. Accordingly, after the Colonial Pipeline hack, the US government issued an executive order to close this gap.

Poor cyber hygiene

But also across the entire IoT ecosystem, the security and hardware standards for devices need to be made more rigorous and well defined. When using personal IoT devices, users often neglect cyber hygiene such as changing the default password or correctly logging out. As such, leaders must create a culture focused on educating and enabling proper cyber hygiene.

Cyber ​​attacks are not limited to the user’s device. They can attack the entire chain of objects connected to the device and cause immense financial data loss in no time. To do this, they look for vulnerabilities in hardware and software. Cybercriminals often rely on users neglecting proper cyber hygiene to gain easy access. These loopholes have often been exploited – from industrial espionage to attacks on power grids to blackmailing companies and authorities.

challenges for companies

Every large enterprise must now take responsibility for IoT security. Huge infrastructures such as power or telecommunications networks must securely integrate IoT devices into their existing IT systems. But the COVID-19 pandemic has also further increased the need for such solutions in other industries.

With the increasing spread of teleworking and working from home, the danger has increased further – it now extends from the office to the home of every employee. This increases the urgency for companies to improve cybersecurity. Some of the most important challenges are:

    • Neglect of compliance by IoT manufacturers
    • Shortage of IoT security professionals
    • Inadequate knowledge and awareness
    • Problems managing IoT device updates
    • lack of physical hardening
    • Vulnerability to botnet attacks
    • Industrial espionage and surveillance

Act now – secure opportunities

The IoT offers tremendous opportunities to improve society and meet the needs of businesses and governments. It can significantly reduce costs and improve access to healthcare and education. It also helps to reduce CO2 emissions and increase road safety.

However, to take advantage of these immense opportunities, all IoT devices and connectivity to the ecosystems must be protected. Otherwise, any connected device with insufficient security can be compromised to control it and steal data. IoT manufacturers must therefore adhere to strict security requirements and integrate advanced protection systems into their devices.

There should be compartmentalized segments in operations, connectivity, and systems to prevent cyberattacks from spreading to other connected devices and systems. New sophisticated monitoring and cybersecurity technologies based on machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) enable robust security of the ecosystem.

Conclusion

In the wake of the pandemic, digital transformation has found its way into critical industries such as healthcare and government. In addition, the use of products and services has changed. The reach of the IoT will be even greater. This raises the question for every company, whether it is fast enough to stay ahead of the curve and proactively protect itself and its customers from cybercriminals.

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