Unleash IoT capabilities in a secure environment

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The pandemic has accelerated digitalization, increasing opportunities and risks. With more devices entering the digital space, interacting with each other or creating dependencies, IoT device connections have become more complex and vulnerable. Forecasts show that by 2025, more than 85% of enterprises will have more intelligent edge devices on their network than laptops, tablets, desktops or smartphones. Similarly, by 2026, more than 90% of enterprises will have experienced a security incident related to the edge network.

IoT devices have more than one way to connect to a network, providing multiple entry points that cyberattackers could exploit. Bad actors are getting smarter and their methods and techniques are evolving, with some already using AI and automation to find weaknesses and launch bigger, more effective attacks.

The cybersecurity crisis in the IoT

As the IoT develops and operational technology (OT) moves from “waterproof” devices to “network edge” devices, it will be very difficult to extend security to these new devices. . In fact, many businesses will find this next to impossible due to the multiple layers of possible attacks.

The main IoT attack zones are:

Devices. Devices can be used as the primary means of launching an attack. A device’s memory, firmware, physical interface, web interface, and network services can all be weak points.

Software and apps. Vulnerabilities in web applications and IoT device software can lead to systems being breached. Web apps can be used to steal user credentials or push malicious firmware updates, for example.

Gateways, routers and other communication channels. Attacks can come from channels that allow IoT components to communicate with each other. Protocols used in IoT systems can have security issues that can affect the entire system. Network attacks such as denial of service (DoS) and spoofing can also be used against IoT systems.

What are the biggest IoT cybersecurity issues?

Problems with passwords and authentication. Default passwords hard-coded by device manufacturers to streamline end-user configuration. Unfortunately, the end user usually forgets to change the password because they don’t realize the dangers of default passwords.

Hardware not secure. Something as simple as plugging a USB driver into an IoT device can infect systems with malware.

Confidentiality and data leaks. IoT devices communicate with each other as well as with end users, which ironically is one of the biggest problems as it gives up control. While device security is important, data transmission security is also crucial.

Unpatched vulnerabilities. Often we see users avoiding system patches. Patches offer security enhancements that protect networks from newly discovered vulnerabilities, but when they are not applied, cyberattackers have a field day.

Remote work and hybrid work. With COVID-19, many organizations are now working remotely. Corporate-owned devices reside in employee homes where security is less than ideal and less robust than an organization’s office network. Hybrid working models make things easier for cyber attackers as they can exploit smart devices, wearables, tablets, speakers and more.

Data interception. Hackers will intercept communication channels between systems to exfiltrate data. Many IoT devices are unencrypted and attackers can easily steal data such as login credentials without needing to decrypt them.

Obsolete devices. Unsupported, outdated, or outdated devices allow cyber attackers to compromise entire networks. From untrusted system customizations to using third-party software or hardware, attackers are exploiting device vulnerabilities.

Hardening the IoT security infrastructure

Organizations are realizing the need for a top-down, strategic approach to cybersecurity, especially since cyber risks can be present in virtually any layer of IoT or edge infrastructure. Here are some of the most important recommendations for securing IoT environments.

● Advanced network visibility: Provide 100% visibility of all IoT devices connecting to the edge network. Configure a governance policy that places all unknown devices in a quarantine zone.
● Smart firewall: Use a firewall built into threat detection.
● Real-time network monitoring: Secure and defend your IoT and edge infrastructure in depth by extending real-time network monitoring to look for traffic patterns that indicate a threat.
● Threat Intelligence software: immediate detection of the first signs of all attacks, unknown and well known in the pre-execution phase
● Patching: Improve security by extending patching processes to IoT and edge systems where possible.
● Disable unused connections: Reduce the number of possible attacks by integrating the disabling of unused network connections into a security policy.
● Telemetry analytics: Strengthen security with network telemetry that continuously scans IoT devices and edge locations to report on performance and configuration.
● Incident Response and Remediation: Automated incident response in IoT devices, edge, or on-premises environments through real-time visibility into an organization’s information security system, data-driven threat hunting logs, anomaly detection and 24/7 monitoring.

Performing all of these recommendations manually would require an army of dedicated security professionals, which is most likely financially impossible. Instead, the best route is to look for automated AI solutions that can help deal with all of these security protocols.

Artificial intelligence and automation are changing the way businesses approach cybersecurity, highlighting the need for more sophisticated tools to deal with more sophisticated attacks.

Recent research shows that investments made in AI and automation pay off. They reduced total cybersecurity costs by at least 15%, citing efficiency and productivity gains and reduced data breach costs by at least 18%, showing improved detection and response processes. Additionally, they improved security ROI by 40% or more, indicating the effectiveness of cyber risk prevention.

Even the most mature cybersecurity organizations are a work in progress; it is an ongoing effort that requires continuous learning, adaptability and improvement, as the dynamic nature of space and the systematic emergence of new threat vectors demands the prioritization of preparedness and resilience. A cyberattack is not a question of if but when and to what extent.

As the IoT space continues to expand and evolve, so should your approach to cybersecurity, using only the smartest technologies that can manage but also proactively mitigate cyber threats. today and tomorrow.

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