Security, it is not only us with our computers, but there are also “things” that interact with the Internet without our intervention. These “things” are continually communicating with the Internet, a fridge sending an update of the food inside or our vehicle transmitting messages to the mechanic to inform its oil levels.
IoT is wonderful in many ways. But unfortunately, technology has not matured yet, and it is not entirely safe. The entire IoT environment, from manufacturers to users, still have many security challenges of IoT to overcome, such as:
- Manufacturing standards
- Update management
- Physical hardening
- Users knowledge and awareness
Top IoT Security Risks
Returning to what happened in 2016, the lack of compliance on the part of IoT manufacturers led to weak and unprotected passwords in some IoT video cameras, which, in turn, led to one of the most damaging botnet attacks, the Mirai malware. There are many IoT security threats, but we will be highlighting the most important.
The following security issues with IoT can be classified as a cause or effect.
1) Lack Of Compliance On The Part Of IoT Manufacturers
New IoT devices come out almost daily, all with undiscovered vulnerabilities. The primary source of most IoT security issues is that manufacturers do not spend enough time and resources on security.
For example, most fitness trackers with Bluetooth remain visible after the first pairing, a smart refrigerator can expose Gmail login credentials, and a smart fingerprint padlock can be accessed with a Bluetooth key that has the same MAC address as the padlock device.
2) Lack Of User Knowledge & Awareness.
Over the years, Internet users have learnt how to avoid spam or phishing emails, perform virus scans on their PCs, and secure their WiFi networks with strong passwords.
But IoT is a new technology, and people still do not know much about it. While most of the risks of IoT security issues are still on the manufacturing side, users and businesses processes can create bigger threats. One of the biggest IoT security risks and challenges is the user’s ignorance and lack of awareness of the IoT functionality. As a result, everybody is put at risk.
3) IoT Security Problems In Device Update Management
Another source of IoT security risks is insecure software or firmware. Although a manufacturer can sell a device with the latest software update, it is almost inevitable that new vulnerabilities will come out.
Updates are critical for maintaining security on IoT devices. They should be updated right after new vulnerabilities are discovered. Still, as compared with smartphones or computers that get automatic updates, some IoT devices continue being used without the necessary updates.
4) Lack Of Physical Hardening
The lack of physical hardening can also cause IoT security issues. Although some IoT devices should be able to operate autonomously without any intervention from a user, they need to be physically secured from outer threats. Sometimes, these devices can be located in remote locations for long stretches of time, and they could be physically tampered with, for example using a USB flash drive with Malware.
5) Botnet Attacks
A single IoT device infected with malware does not pose any real threat; it is a collection of them that can bring down anything. To perform a botnet attack, a hacker creates an army of bots by infecting them with malware and directs them to send thousands of requests per second to bring down the target.
6) Industrial Espionage & Eavesdropping
If hackers take over surveillance in at location by infecting IoT devices, spying might not be the only option They can also perform such attacks to demand ransom money.
Thus, invading privacy is another prominent IoT security issue. Spying and intruding through IoT devices is a real problem, as a lot different sensitive data may be compromised and used against its owner.
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7) Highjacking Your IoT Devices.
Ransomware has been named as one of the nastiest malware types ever existed. Ransomware does not destroy your sensitive files — it blocks access to them by way of encryption. Then, the hacker who infected the device will demand a ransom fee for the decryption key unlocking the files.
8) Data Integrity Risks Of IoT Security In Healthcare
With IoT, data is always on the move. It is being transmitted, stored, and processed. Most IoT devices extract and collect information from the external environment. It can be a smart thermostat, HVAC, TVs, medical devices. But sometimes these devices send the collected data to the cloud without any encryption.
9) Rogue IoT Devices
We might already know about the rapid growth of the number of IoT devices, which is predicted to reach 18 billion by 2022, according to Ericsson. The problem with this number of devices arises not only in the BYOD (Bring-Your-On-Devices) approach in enterprises, but also in home networks. One of the most significant IoT security risks and challenges is being able to manage all our devices and close the perimeter.
10) Cryptomining With IoT Bots.
Mining cryptocurrency demands colossal CPU and GPU resources, and another IoT security issue has emerged due to this precondition — cryptomining with IoT bots. This type of attack involves infected botnets aimed at IoT devices, with the goal not to create damage, but mine cryptocurrency.