The advent of digitalization has brought numerous benefits to organizations and customers alike. However, it has also opened new cyber loopholes that adversaries can exploit and organizations need to watch out for. From among the many booming technologies in 2022, the Internet of Things (IoT) is growing at a very fast rate and is poised to make a positive impact on business. As per a forecast done by IoT Analytics, the number of connected IoT devices will shoot up to approximately 14.4 billion in 2022.

Though this figure sounds promising, it also raises an alarm when we think about the associated security challenges. In this blog, we will shed light on the top five challenges that threaten the IoT ecosystem and some of the best practices organizations can follow to combat and safeguard their infrastructure against them.

Top 5 security challenges for IoT devices

Let's talk about the top five security challenges that organizations must prepare for while adopting IoT.

1. Brute-force attacks

Use of poor and weak passwords make IoT devices susceptible to brute-force attacks. IoT manufacturers usually hardcode and embed credentials in the IoT devices. Users are required to change these credentials on their first use of the device. However, many users do not change the credentials and this creates opportunities for adversaries. They can very easily carry out a successful brute-force attack. Upon a successful breach they can then further gain access, connect to all the other devices on the network, and compromise them all.

2. Botnet attacks

Malicious actors create IoT botnets to carry out cyberattacks at a large scale wherein they infect a group of internet-connected devices with malware. This army of compromised devices can be remotely accessed by the attackers, and it can be used to steal sensitive data, launch DDoS attacks, and more. The Mirai botnet attack of 2016 is one of the most famous IoT botnet attacks; it launched massive DDoS attacks using hundreds of thousands of compromised devices like IP cameras and home routers, and brought down popular websites like Twitter and GitHub.

And with the recent craze around cryptocurrency, hackers are also deploying botnets to infect IoT devices with crypto mining malware and mining cryptocurrency.

3. Lack of regulation

There are no global regulatory standards for IoT manufacturers to comply with, even though it is a quintessential need. This gives cybercriminals a golden opportunity.

4. Rogue IoT devices

Attackers can create rogue IoT devices and deploy them in the network to carry out their malicious activities. Rogue IoT devices can be used to steal confidential data or compromise the entire network.

Rogue devices are not only limited to enterprise networks but have been successful in tapping home networks too. Users who continue using the rogue devices end up providing an entry point for cybercriminals to the entire ecosystem.

5. IoT skills gap

The IoT skills gap challenge is very real for organizations. According to the IoT Adoption Survey, 45% of respondents indicated that the skills gap is a challenge faced by enterprises. This creates a security hole and simultaneously opens the door to multiple cyberattacks and IoT security challenges.

IoT security best practices

Let's look at 11 best practices that organizations can follow to secure their IoT infrastructure:

  1. Ensure strong and unique passwords are used and that passwords are regularly changed.
  2. Authenticate the users who need access to IoT devices.
  3. Ensure communication between devices is well encrypted and is done using secure communication protocols like Transport Layer Security.
  4. Perform penetration testing to find hidden vulnerabilities.
  5. Build and use a different network segment for IoT devices.
  6. Ensure all software and devices are updated and patched.
  7. Authenticate and authorize the devices that can connect to the network.
  8. Encrypt the data stored in IoT devices to stop adversaries from using it for malicious reasons.
  9. Implement blockchain technology in the IoT defense strategy.
  10. Train and upskill security professionals to address the skill gap in the IoT field.
  11. Educate users on the cybersecurity challenges around IoT.

The world of IoT has a lot to offer, provided organizations and their users secure it from the malicious elements of the cyberworld.

Hope this blog helped you to learn about IoT security. Stay tuned for more intriguing reads!

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