The Internet of things (loT) is becoming more and more present in organizations and business, but it attracts with it an imminent risk.
There is much talk today about the Internet of things; this is a resource that has been exploited and has been very efficient in various areas; however the Internet of things has achieved a change in business and industrial institutions; facilitating many processes by interconnecting devices and resources to be managed more efficiently. Likewise; we must recognize that the use of the Internet of Things has another side, which is the deficiency in cyber security. The more organizations implement the Internet of Things, the more software and hardware must be created and implemented to cover its functionalities; which with its use can lead to security breaches, vulnerabilities and risks.
What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
It consists of the interconnection of devices through an internet network, connections that were previously closed circuit. Specialized hardware is used to connect these objects to the Internet, as well as to program actions that can be operated remotely. The way in which these devices can both connect to an Internet network and execute the appropriate functions is through the embedded systems, these are electronic systems that are responsible for carrying out specific actions in real time, these are composed of a microprocessor with an interface input / output that allow the execution of activities and programming of actions for different devices.
Cybersecurity in the internet of things and its implications.
As the implementation of the Internet of Things advances rapidly in various sectors of society, it is necessary to create more and more software and hardware to carry out its basic functions. Therefore, it is necessary to implement more security for these softwares to avoid any attack or damage that can be done in order to harm the interconnected devices. Traditional cybersecurity systems can be ineffective for the constant advancement of the Internet of Things, because it needs a higher level of security due to the constant growth and innovation of this technology, leaving behind conventional cybersecurity means.
As for the risks that can arise from using the Internet, in many cases companies or organizations focus more on the benefits it offers, but in other words, connecting different devices together gives much more room for the different threats that surround this technology. If we think about it from this perspective, it is quite logical that the more connections there are, whether they be cell phones, cloud storage, databases, software, etc; the more likely it is that a cyber-criminal will attack you, as there are different entries to many interconnected devices, which can have serious consequences depending on the area affected.
There are certain vulnerabilities that have been found in the Internet of Things, as we mentioned earlier:
- Some devices in the ‘Internet of Things’ have factory or default backdrops, making it easier for cyber-crooks to hack and gain unauthorized access remotely.
- There are few or no encryption protocols, making data communication between devices much more insecure.
- There may be default access credentials on some devices that cannot be changed, either users or factory assigned passwords. So when this data is discovered, it is easier to penetrate illegally.
In the same way, there are a series of attacks to which IoT devices are more prone, many of which are standard but equally pose a risk when implemented in organizations or companies:
- Privacy attacks: these occur when cyber attackers enter and steal certain privacy-related information, such as your home address, passwords, names and numbers of connected devices, academic or work information, etc.
- Ransomware or device hijacking: as we have seen in previous articles, attacks carried out by ransomwares are quite common and their danger comes from the fact that they can be implemented in multiple technologies, so in this case what they manage to penetrate some of the devices can be injected with a virus that blocks or disables that device and cannot be recovered until a payment is made to the attacker so that he can rehabilitate it.
- Spam: In this type of attack it is normally used to hijack email accounts and use them as “bots” that send massively junk or infected emails in order to phishing other people from the stolen accounts.
How to keep loT devices safe?
As we have seen so far, loT devices generate a great advantage for organizations that want to implement them; however it is important to keep in mind that IT security is an investment that must be taken into account especially when implementing this technology. Companies only invest between 5 and 10% in the security of their loT devices; which does not guarantee that these are safe and can suffer attacks; so the best recommendation is to raise awareness and invest in the security of their business devices.
Taking a kind of inventory and carrying out a security strategy is also very beneficial to start implementing security in your company; knowing how many devices are connected, what types of devices they are (phones, database, security cameras, etc). Also knowing how many people benefit from these devices and from this create the security strategy.
In the case of having a center where all loT devices are managed it is important to keep it updated with different security software, update patches, antivirus; and have a strong encryption system. You can also implement this step from the devices that allow it, whether they are computers, databases, etc. Another more technical option is traffic filtering; which helps you select or prevent unauthorized traffic to specific devices. This can be useful for restricting access to the devices with the highest risk.
We must remember that human intervention is a company’s greatest vulnerability, so a good security policy that tells each worker how to handle the devices and the security risks is never overlooked. Securing your company is a responsibility that in the long run is always better than just repairing the damage after an attack. In the same way if you require additional information or resources to keep your company safe, you can feel free to contact our team.