IoT Cybersecurity in 2024: Importance & Tips To Deal With Attacks
The number of devices connected to IP networks is expected to be 3 times higher than the global population in 2023, compared to 2.4 times in 2018. This brings with it a particular challenge: securing them against cyber attacks. ~1.5 billion cyber-attacks on IoT devices were reported in 2020. In an IoT ecosystem with a multitude of connected devices, infiltrating one of them puts the whole network at risk. That is why securing them is paramount.
In this article, we will explain what IoT cybersecurity is, what access points are vulnerable, how you can secure your network, and explore how blockchain can, too, be considered a countermeasure.
What is IoT cybersecurity?
IoT cybersecurity is the practice of protecting IoT devices and ecosystems from cyber threats. To counter these threats, there are tools that protect networks from data breaches while identifying and monitoring risks that aim to reduce vulnerabilities.
What are IoT access points to hackers?
Because IoT is a complex network comprising different components, it provides hackers with more than one point of entry:
The edge includes sensors and actuators interacting with the physical world and our surroundings.
Because, generally speaking, there is pressure on producers to keep rolling out new devices and services, less attention goes into making them secure. Harvard Business Report’s research claims that 80% of organizations do not routinely test their IoT apps for security vulnerabilities. This means the devices themselves are the most vulnerable, not least because most of the rudimentary devices do not support software updates. This leaves devices, such as cameras and DVR players, vulnerable to malware.
Communication networks are the gateways that connect devices together. Hacking Bluetooth networks is a common strategy for hijacking the device’s integrity. In Belgium, for research purposes, a group was able to hack a Tesla Model X’s Bluetooth interface with a device costing a total of $195. The researchers claimed they could compromise the system 5 meters away, gaining access to the vehicle’s locking system.
The cloud is a data storage space where IoT devices’ data is collected and processed on third-party premises. By getting access to the cloud, although you might not be able to control the devices per se, you will have access to helpful information they collect. In 2021, Russian hackers were able to gain access to confidential information. They exchanged email threads with over 100 U.S. companies and federal agencies, such as the Treasury, Energy, Justice, and Homeland Security departments.
To learn more about how IoT systems can be infiltrated, click here.
Why is IoT cybersecurity important?
IoT networks are increasing in number. They are no longer only confined to our homes — a couple of smart thermostats here, some smart light bulbs there. They are growing in stature in healthcare, smart city solutions, retail, and manufacturing, among others.
As the efficiency and effectiveness of IoT devices and networks increase, so will their outreach into more sectors and, consequently, society’s dependence on their functionality. And because more businesses could migrate online (with e-commerce replacing brick-and-mortar stores, for example), keeping their integrity will be paramount in avoiding shutdowns.
How to increase IoT cybersecurity?
The following methods will help increase your IoT cybersecurity:
- Delegate oversight: Leveraging cybersecurity software to protect your IoT devices is useful in preventing, detecting, and reacting to cyber threats.
- Software updates and patches: If a device as basic as a DVR can get hacked, so can most other devices. That is why it’s important to constantly check for software updates to make sure your device is running up to date. New software updates bring with them security patches and bug fixes. Investing in vulnerability management tools can further increase IoT security by monitoring and notifying the user of IoT’s overall vulnerabilities.
- Password hygiene: 95% of data breaches are because of human error. Using strong, unique passwords, as well as keeping tabs on them and making sure to regularly change them is a simple, yet effective tool to secure your IoT infrastructure. Investing in password management software helps you with automating saving, filling, and managing your passwords.
- WiFi security: Attention should be given to the WiFi router itself, which can be often overlooked. Enabling the router firewall, disabling WPS, and enabling the WPA2 protocol instead, along with using a strong password for logging into the router, is an effective way of reducing risks.
- Network security: Networks are composed of both physical and digital components, thus providing cyber attackers with the opportunity to hijack either or both of them. Ensuring port security, protecting your DDoS, investing in a network intrusion detection system, disabling port forwarding, using firewalls, and blocking IP addresses are helpful ways to secure IoT security.
Can blockchain increase IoT security?
Blockchain technology is a decentralized storage space that houses information in a digital format and allows for transparent accessibility. An analogy could be Google Docs: Even though a document can be shared with multiple people at the same time, enabling simultaneous editing, the owner has the ability to restrict specific users’ access and not allow them to claim ownership of the document.
Per the analogy, blockchain does not have a single point of contact but rather many entry points along a chain. But even though it’s transparent and accessible by default, an attack on one, or a small number of participants, does not affect other nodes, which are any electronic device maintaining copies of the blockchain.
Decentralization of the network would make it more resilient because blockchain contains strong protections against data tampering, locking access to IoT devices, and allowing compromised devices in the ecosystem to be shut down.
Can operational technology increase IoT security?
Operational technology usually focuses on securing the integrity and functionality of physical devices in industrial settings.
With the advent of IoT, the need to safeguard consumer devices and obtain new, secure methods of delivering IoT analytics data directly to legacy devices in the field for their enhanced operational and financial performance has arisen.
Advice for IT leaders: You can protect and monitor the availability, reliability, productivity, and safety of your IoT devices by implementing an operational technology framework.
For more on the internet of things
To learn more about the internet of things, read:
- A Deep Dive into IoT Architecture & Top 10 Components
- IoT-5G For a Fast and Consistent Connectivity
- IoT Implementation Tutorial: Steps, Challenges, Best Practices
Finally, If you believe your business will benefit from a cybersecurity software and/or IoT solution, feel free to check our cybersecurity hub and IoT hub, where we have data-driven lists of tools and software.
Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.
Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.
Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.
He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.
Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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