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5 minutes read

Security for IoT Devices: Risks and Challenges

By Jose Gomez
security for IoT devices
By Jose Gomez
5 minutes read

Most organizations are acutely aware of their business’s digital security risks, but they often overlook their network-connected devices. IoT devices face the same security threats your website, applications, or network face, but IoT security is often not a major priority. 

If your business uses IoT devices, even if they are simple connected devices like security cameras, your organization must take security measures to secure IoT devices. 

There are several IoT security challenges and risks that inherently affect many IoT devices. In addition, IoT security is further hampered by a lack of visibility. Since connected devices are often small, with no screen or user interface, they get forgotten and don’t get full security measures. 

This post will explain the most significant IoT security threats and challenges facing organizations and the steps that can be taken to improve IoT security. 

IoT Security Risks and Challenges 

IoT security is focused on protecting connected devices from potential threats. The term Internet of Things refers to any system of physical devices that sends and receives data over a network without human intervention. 

Perhaps you think your business has no IoT devices. Any device called “smart” is generally considered an IoT device. Maybe your business only uses smart devices to control the office’s temperature or smart security cameras to monitor the premises.

Even if you don’t have a robust IoT system of sensors and devices, any smart device connected to your network is a potential entry point for cyber attackers. Therefore, IoT device security must be prioritized for any connected device your company uses. 

Failing to protect IoT devices leaves your company vulnerable to a new wave of cyberattacks. Here are some of the biggest IoT security challenges and risks:

  • IoT devices are always on
  • IoT devices lack built-in security 
  • It is difficult to manage device sprawl 

IoT Devices are Always On

The high availability of IoT devices makes them useful for organizations, but it also makes them attractive targets for cyber attackers. In addition, while remote access is great for convenience and performance, it also gives anyone the opportunity to try and log in. 

Cyberattackers use automated tools to discover devices with publicly available IP addresses and default passwords. When they identify an IoT device that fits these parameters, they can begin their attack and access the underlying network through the IoT device. 

IoT Devices Lack Built-In Security 

IoT devices are often built with little to no consideration for security. Since there is little awareness surrounding IoT security when IoT device vulnerabilities are made public, connected devices can remain unprotected and vulnerable for months or even years. 

The biggest issue is that IoT devices are often shipped with default passwords to simplify setup. However, many organizations fail to change these passwords, and often the device doesn’t require a password change after the initial setup. 

With few or no security features delivered with the IoT device, your organization is responsible for taking security measures for its protection. 

It Is Difficult to Manage Device Sprawl 

The more IoT devices your organization utilizes, the larger its attack surface is. Therefore, managing IoT device sprawl can significantly challenge organizations with large IoT systems. Additionally, the more IoT devices in use, the more difficult it is to keep up with cyber and physical security practices

Organizations need to tightly organize their IoT devices and establish a team to handle the entire IoT system to combat this. 

Steps Your Organization Can Take to Improve IoT Security 

Just because IoT security is not a highly visible issue for many organizations does not mean there are no security solutions your business can employ to improve IoT security. The most effective measures your organization can take to improve IoT security include the following: 

  • Change default passwords
  • Keep devices updated
  • Separate IoT devices from your network 
  • Monitor your network 

Change Default Passwords 

Changing the default passwords for each IoT device is an easy and effective way to improve IoT security. However, you would be surprised to learn how many users fail to take this simple security step. 

When you don’t change default passwords, you make it exceedingly easy for bad actors to access your devices and get into your underlying network. 

Keep Devices Updated 

Another effective way to promote IoT security that is easy to do is ensuring all devices are updated with the latest firmware and software. Security patches and firmware updates are often released to address security vulnerabilities.

However, unless you update your IoT devices, they will remain vulnerable. Unfortunately, many organizations fail to stay on top of updates, and as a result, they expose their IoT devices to potential attacks. 

Separate IoT Devices From Your Network 

Do you want to protect your network and critical systems? Put IoT devices on their own network, isolated from your organization’s important systems. Then, if your IoT devices are breached, the underlying network is isolated from anything critical to your business. 

This is a simple step that can strengthen the security of your organization. Don’t allow the security flaws of IoT devices to grant hackers access to your network or critical systems and IT infrastructure.

Monitor Your Network 

Network monitoring tools can help your organization identify strange or malicious activity from IoT devices. If your organization is security conscious, it likely already has network monitoring capabilities.

The key is to monitor the IoT network to identify and fix any issues that present themselves. First, understand what average activity looks like; then, you can monitor the network for strange behavior. 

Final Thoughts 

IoT security does not have to challenge your organization. Yes, there is little focus on this particular facet of digital security, but that doesn’t mean it is unimportant. To learn more about IoT security best practices, contact a skilled IoT development company and security partner like Koombea.

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