Internet of Things (IoT) encompasses everything from laptops to smart networks. Here are the biggest IoT security issues – and what you can do about them.
Why is IoT security important?
The Internet is full of impersonators and opportunists. As the world accelerates towards a digitalised world, our IoT devices leave us vulnerable to hacks, which can compromise our day-to-day business operations, leak personal client information, and damage our professional reputations.
Anything connected to the internet can be targetted. Therefore, implementing adequate IoT security measures is paramount – especially if your business depends on it, such as those in e-commerce.
What are the security issues in IoT?
1. Software Update Risks
This is a huge problem that is often ignored. Today, there are 23 billion IoT devices across the world. This number will rise to 60 billion by 2025. These devices require continual software updates – some of which patch crucial gaps as security vulnerabilities are discovered.
It’s important to prioritise software updates and have them carried out in a timely fashion to avoid unnecessary security risks. You should also consider carrying out updates automatically, so you’ll always have the latest – and most secure – version installed.
2. IoT data security and privacy issues
Data security is one of the most evasive problems we have. Hackers are often after the data you have and will go the extra mile to obtain that piece of information. This problem is compounded by the massive amount of data that is now being collected, stored, and sometimes sold to third-parties by huge enterprises across the world.
As we shift into an increasingly digitalised world, legislation will become a major key to protecting consumer data and enforcing compliance.
3. Weak passwords
IoT devices or accounts with a weak password or those that retain their default password after purchase are the weakest link in cyber security. To strengthen your password, you should always include both alphabetic and numeric characters – and use longer passwords whenever possible. You can also use random password generators and password managers to take your security to the next level.
Additionally, any organisation that uses default usernames and passwords on its gadgets places the business and its clients at huge risk of a brute force or malware attack. Avoid using default passwords whenever possible.
4. Malware and ransomware attacks
Malware attacks have dominated in the past decade as the number of IoT devices has skyrocketed. These cyber attacks encompass everything from ransomware, which blocks you from accessing your data and asks you to transfer payment, to spyware, which can track your key strokes or even observe you via your webcam.
If you run a website for your business, you should consider using an SSL certificate, which uses encryption to verify your website’s authenticity and prevents malicious parties from impersoning your website to extract user data or install malware onto their devices.
5. Cryptocurrency has made IoT devices a desirable target
The crypto-craze can only be likened to the gold-rush back in the 1930s. Hackers are on the lookout for IoT devices that have this type of digital currency, and upon landing on a suitable target, they will mine all your crypto using various means.
As much as numerous blockchain companies are ramping up their web security to prevent these types of attacks, the truth is that illegal crypto mining is still very present – and is a growing security concern in the IoT field.
How is security implemented in IoT?
1. Installing an SSL certificate, such as a wildcard SSL certificate, on your website will help protect your business from malware attacks and provide a better level of data encryption between the server and your customer.
2. Regularly carrying out software updates will save you a great deal of trouble. Updates will contain the latest version of security protocols that you can easily integrate.
3. Changing your passwords every three months may also save you from getting hacked via a weak password. You should also set a unique password that cannot easily be guessed by anyone who may attempt to hack your accounts.
4. In the longer-term, legislators also have a major role to play in IoT security, restricting the collection of personal consumer data by large enterprises and enforcing stiff penalties when these laws are breached.
As the IoT landscape continues to evolve rapidly, corresponding security measures will need to adapt to the changing threats that malware, ransomware, and hacks pose. However, IoT is slowly becoming a core element of our day-to-day lives. Given the advantages it brings us, from global connectivity to heightened efficiency and automation, we should embrace it wholeheartedly.