4 IoT security risks every enterprise should know about
The rapid adoption of internet-of-things technologies has introduced a variety of cyber security concerns into modern enterprise environments. Internet-connected devices allow for more interconnectivity than ever before, but many of the leading products lack the built-security features businesses require. In such a uncertain landscape, IT administrators must identify and mitigate a wide range of vulnerabilities that could lead to data theft, exploitation and severe operational losses.
Top enterprise IoT vulnerabilities
As researchers dedicate more time to surveying IoT environments and the devices that support them, new vulnerabilities are constantly popping up. This is because most IoT manufacturers do not adhere to any industry guidelines, as the National Institute of Standards and Technology has not released any official best practices for products with these advanced features. While the NIST has published recommendations for managing and securing IoT devices, its guidance is completely voluntary.
Until unified standards are released, business leaders will need to rely on the judgement and experience of their IT departments to ward off costly cyberattacks. This will involve a lot of legwork and trend spotting, as malicious actors are continuously developing new hacking and infiltration techniques.
Here are four IoT security risks every enterprise should keep in mind:
1. Weak, guessable passwords
Although businesses are increasingly moving toward plug-and-play solutions that can be deployed in minutes, IoT devices must be carefully integrated into existing service management processes. This is particularly important during the installation phase, as most internet-connected equipment comes with default login credentials.
According to the Open Web Application Security Project, enterprises should ensure all web applications and IoT devices are tested for default credentials prior to deployment. When updating usernames and passwords, IT personnel should use complex phrases, numbers and special characters to prevent hackers from easily cracking their credentials.
2. IoT malware
Malware continues to be a top concern for IT leaders. The more IoT devices active on a network, the greater the number of entry points companies must monitor. Considering roughly 152,200 IoT devices will be connected to the internet every minute by 2025, according to research from IDC, it's no surprise that organizations are aggressively expanding their network and system protections.
IoT malware is a growing issue and hackers are doing everything they can to exploit the novelty of unsecured devices. According to data from NETSCOUT, it only takes 5 minutes (on average) for an IoT device to be attacked once it's connected to the internet. After gaining access, hackers can use these devices to launch ransomware attacks, steal sensitive information and conduct large-scale botnet operations on other targets.
3. Lack of patching protocols
Keeping IoT devices insulated from malicious actors requires a consistent patching schedule, which helps eliminate code bugs and zero-day exploits before they lead to a major security breach. However, Device Authority notes that many hackers attempt to install unauthorized software and firmware updates on unsecured end points to help get around organizations' network- and application-level protections.
Another issue is that the delivery of these critical updates can be tampered with unless enterprises have the right patch management solutions in place. Business leaders should prioritize updating tools with encryption features to ensure external actors cannot intercept these patches in transit and inject harmful malware.
4. Unsecured network services
One of the primary attack vectors for IoT hackers is to take advantage of weaknesses in an organization's network communications and the connectivity applications that run on specific devices. By exploiting vulnerabilities in these network services, cyber criminals can steal login credentials, impersonate authorized users and even reconfigure security settings for IoT endpoints.
Fortunately, companies can mitigate many of these risks by improving their transport layer security. As Cloudflare explains, TLS encryption helps protect web applications from data breaches by authenticating users and verifying that data has not been tampered with. This level of oversight can also help identify suspicious behavior on the network, allowing security teams to act before significant harm is done.
Of course, enterprises will need to integrate reliable connectivity tools to ensure their systems are efficient, secure and adaptable. That's why Perle offers industrial-grade networking equipment designed for today's fast-paced business environments. Our robust console servers enable secure remote management of any device with a serial or USB port.
To learn more, explore some of our customers' success stories.