The Hidden Dangers of IoT and How to Avoid Them

June 30, 2023

Did you know that by 2030, there will be almost 30 billion IoT devices connected to the Internet? These devices can make our lives easier and more enjoyable, but they can also expose us to many risks and threats. How secure are these devices and the data they collect and share? What can a cyberattack on IoT devices potentially result in? And how can we prevent or respond to attacks like these? Let’s explore the challenges and solutions of IoT and cybersecurity in this new article.

What is IoT and How Does it Work?

Imagine a world where everything is connected and smart. That’s what IoT, or the Internet of Things, is all about. It’s a network of physical objects that can communicate with each other and with us through the Internet. For example, a smart bike can track your location, speed, distance, and calories burned with various sensors. You can also sync it with your smartphone or get alerts if there is a problem with your bike or your route. You can also use location intelligence to find the best bike paths, avoid traffic and discover new places.

IoT devices

IoT devices are not just for personal convenience or fun. They can also make a huge difference in the industrial sector. For example, a smart camera that can scan the products for defects and alert the quality control team, reducing waste, errors, and costs. This is one of the many ways that IoT devices can improve industrial processes.

IoT devices work in a cycle: they collect data from the environment or other sources (such as smartphones); then they send it to the Cloud via the internet (WiFi, Bluetooth, etc..); they process those data with software that analyze and organize them; and finally, they display it to the user on the device. They do this over and over again to keep users updated with the latest information.

Risks and Challenges

We often underestimate the risks of connecting everyday devices to an IoT network, such as smartwatches, garage doors, or fridges. These devices are linked to each other, creating a huge web of connectivity. But they are also liable machines and if a hacker gets into the device through any weak point, he can exploit its connectivity and obtain our data. Hackers are always looking for new ways to break through security measures and attack our devices. So, what are the risks for IoT devices? How can we protect our data and respond to these attacks?

Cyber attack

Many companies are neglecting their device networks and only reacting when a disaster strikes. This can have serious consequences, as some recent cyberattacks have shown. For example, hackers exploited a flaw in popular file-transfer software and accessed data from several federal agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Energy and the Johns Hopkins University and Health System. Another case is the Reddit data breach, where a ransomware gang claimed to have stolen 80GB of confidential data from the social media platform and demanded $4.5 million to keep it secret. These incidents show the vulnerability of device networks and emphasize the need for regular checks and updates to prevent security breaches.

Botnet attacks are a serious threat that can use thousands of malware-infected devices to launch coordinated attacks on a specific target. Any device that has an internet connection can be turned into a bot and used by cybercriminals to harm businesses or individuals. For example, the Mozi botnet used IoT devices to carry out DDoS attacks on various organizations, such as government agencies, telecom operators, and financial institutions. These attacks can cause data breaches, identity theft, spamming, and other damages. That’s why cybersecurity needs to be ready to respond, but it often happens that IoT devices are more exposed because they don’t get regular updates as computers do.

Cybersecurity Solutions for IoT Devices

IoT devices are constantly exposed to cyber-attacks, but there are cybersecurity experts who work 24h to stop them. Whether it’s corporate information or our sensitive personal data, how can we protect our data?

  • IoT devices generate a large amount of data, which can be very useful to cybersecurity professionals in mitigating security risks. The data collected can show potential vulnerabilities and threats to the network and provide an opportunity to course-correct, think about a solution, and implement updates to the system.
  • Another way to reinforce the security of our IoT networks is to bolster the network infrastructure itself. This can be done through a range of measures such as deploying antivirus software, firewalls, antimalware, or secure gateways. Reinforcing these components ensures a solid line of defense against malicious intrusions.
  • Identity authentication is also being used to verify that only the right person can access the information. You may have seen this when you have to answer a security question or click a box that says you are not a robot. But there is another way of checking who you are, called biometric systems. These use things like your fingerprint or your face to stop hackers from accessing your information.
  • To ensure a higher level of complexity, an effective solution could be a public key infrastructure strategy, Public key infrastructure secures and verifies communications between servers and users. It can also be used for safe communications within an organization to make sure that the messages are only seen by the sender and recipient, and that they have not been changed or corrupted in transit. PKI makes use of two methods: asymmetric and symmetric encryption. Both types of encryption safeguard data but are used for different purposes.
IoT Security

Final Thoughts

IoT and cybersecurity are two sides of the same coin. As we enjoy the benefits of having smart and connected devices in our homes and workplaces, we also face the challenges of keeping them safe and secure from cyberattacks. Cybersecurity experts are constantly working to develop and implement better solutions to protect our data and privacy. But we also have a role to play in being aware and responsible for our own security. By following some simple best practices, such as updating our devices regularly, using strong passwords, and verifying the authenticity of the sources we communicate with, we can help prevent hackers from exploiting our IoT devices. IoT and cybersecurity are here to stay, and we need to embrace them both with caution and confidence.

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