The Complete Guide to IoT Security and What Every Business Owner Needs to Know

With our eyes constantly glued to our phones or turning on the TV as soon as we get home, we might feel that technology has a significant impact on our lives. We might even think of our electronic devices as an extension of our families, much like Mildred from Ray Bradbury’s well-known dystopia Fahrenheit 451. Whilst technology has made significant contributions to the development of human civilization, we must not lose sight of the fact that our gadgets can also be sources of potential hazards, especially if they are connected to the Internet.

This occurs because the so-called Internet of Things, which includes Wi-Fi routers, Smart TVs, Smart Cameras, Smart Locks, Smart Lights, Voice Assistants, certain Medical Devices, or Internet-connected Cars, may very quickly become the target of cybercriminals.

What Is IoT Security? 

The physical items that are embedded with software, sensors, and other technologies that enable them to connect and exchange data with other devices and systems through the Internet are referred to as “Internet of Things” (IoT) objects.

IoT security therefore encompasses all the actions we may take to secure the (cyber)security of this class of devices while also taking into account the many threats that they face.

Both producers and users favour these gadgets. Customers for the new features (having Internet on the TV makes it easy to watch Netflix).

Yet, manufacturers prefer IoT devices because they enable them to covertly gather data about how customers use their goods. They can then modify future goods in light of these usage trends.

The Rise of IoT Devices

An astonishing number of elements, such as the following, have aided in the development of IoT:

  • Connectivity. Network protocol hosts for the Internet make it simple to link sensors to the cloud and other “things,” which speeds up data flow.
  • Access to low-cost and low-power sensor technology. Modern manufacturers utilise sensors that are both economical and trustworthy.
  • Cloud platforms. As cloud platforms become more widely used, consumers and organisations may take use of them without having to manage them.
  • Machine learning and analytics. Companies may now obtain insights more quickly and easily thanks to developments in machine learning and analytics as well as the enormous amounts of data stored on the cloud.
  • Rise of conversational artificial intelligence (AI). Because of developments in neural networks, IoT devices (such the digital personal assistants Alexa, Cortana, and Siri) may now take advantage of natural-language processing.

“The number of IoT endpoints is anticipated to reach 5.8 billion endpoints in 2020, as said, a 21% rise from 2019,” i-SCOOP reports. […] Building automation, the automobile industry, and healthcare are the industries that are installing IoT endpoints at the fastest rates. Physical security is the second-largest consumer of IoT endpoints, according to Peter Middleton. The use cases for indoor surveillance and building intrusion detection here will drive volume. This type of technology is used in a variety of other sectors, thus the growth trend further emphasises how crucial IoT security is for companies.

Benefits of IoT Devices

The following are the main advantages of IoT safe devices for your business:

  • They increase the productivity and efficiency of business operations. 
  • They create new business models and revenue streams
  • They easily connect the physical business world to the digital world, which saves time and creates value. 

The problematic issue is that, whether we use them at home or at work, they are actually very convenient. For example, we can use IoT devices to remotely turn on and off lights, unlock the front door even while we are outside the building, or ask Alexa or Siri to check our schedule.

IoT Security Risks 

Identity and access management 

Although identity and access management is frequently associated with end users, it also applies to gadgets and programmes that need access to networks and resources. Because devices left exposed in various areas can be readily targeted and used by hackers to penetrate your organisation, it is always advisable to verify what they have access to and the validity of their request in the first place.

Data Integrity 

The integrity and wholesomeness of data are essential for IoT activities. Be sure your data hasn’t been altered, either when it’s at rest, travelling, or being used. Furthermore remember to consider personal information. Encryption must be used to safeguard this type of data as well as any other data produced by an IoT device, whether it is in transit or at rest.

The great number of devices 

The use of a large number of devices is another factor that endangers IoT security. To be more accurate, adding more systems and devices increases the number of entry points for possible attackers, raising the stakes for security enormously.

The simplicity of the devices 

The IT and electronics industries place a high priority on simplicity and use. Every piece of software and hardware available today is created to be as simple to use as possible in order to avoid confusing users and preventing them from utilising the product.

However, this frequently results in goods skimping on security elements that customers might deem “too clunky”.

IoT devices are being employed more and more in a variety of industries, and even the most basic ones could serve as entry points into a company’s network’s private areas (for instance, a fish-tank thermometer in a casino that can amass tens of GB of customer data and expose it to hackers).

Poor software updates

Furthermore, a lot of Internet of Things developers don’t even patch or update the pre-installed software on their products. If your device has a software vulnerability, as it almost certainly does, there isn’t much you can do without the manufacturer’s assistance to stop an attacker from exploiting it.

Insecure user interface 

A malevolent hacker will typically start by scanning the user interface of a device for any weaknesses. He might, for instance, attempt to tamper with the “I lost my password” function in order to reset it or at the very least learn your login or email.

A correctly made gadget should also prevent a user from making repeated attempts to log in. Your device credentials are significantly protected as a result, stopping dictionary and brute force assaults that target passwords.

In other situations, the password might be transmitted in plain text—that is, without encryption—from the device to the main server. It’s bad if someone is using the device to listen in and read all of your info.

The physical protection and disposal of connected devices 

The owner’s password can be retrieved from the plaintext, private keys, and root passwords of various goods by anyone with physical access to them. It’s critical to consider protection during use and disposal of outdated or malfunctioning smart devices when businesses adopt and upgrade IoT.

Malware on an industrial scale 

Companies must remember to secure the industrial control systems that are connected to and rely on IoT devices since hackers are creating increasingly harmful forms of malware.

GDPR Compliance 

There is always a chance that innovation will expose potential gaps in data security. The penalties imposed for GDPR violations demonstrate how seriously the European Commission regulators take protecting the privacy of personal information. While some upcoming security legislation promises to hold device manufacturers liable for weak entry points, businesses must bear a greater share of responsibility for the flaws in their own IT systems.


One of the biggest cybersecurity threats of the present is inertia. Many businesses still rely on security technologies that were designed decades ago, despite the fact that technology is continually changing and hackers are developing new tactics to obtain what they want.

The Triton industrial virus has so far been aimed at the safety systems of a Saudi Arabian oil refinery. Several local authority institutions, Marriott Hotels, British Airlines, and others have unintentionally disclosed enormous amounts of personal data. A group of hackers used an aquarium thermometer that was connected to the Internet to gain access to a large amount of sensitive data belonging to a casino. Avoid letting something similar occur to your business!

Furthermore, by hacking into apps that control the onboard software, researchers have repeatedly demonstrated that it is feasible to physically take control of an automobile. This has only ever been done experimentally up until now, but as the popularity of Internet-connected cars increases, it’s just a matter of time before it occurs to someone, somewhere.

Depending on the kind of vulnerability the attacker chooses to exploit, there are numerous ways to hack smart gadgets.

The main types of attacks against IoT devices are: 

Vulnerability exploitation

Every piece of software has weaknesses. It is practically impossible to not. You can employ them in a variety of ways, depending on the type of vulnerability.

  • Buffer overflows. This occurs when a gadget tries to fill up a temporary storage area with too much information. The extra information then overwrites other areas of the memory space. If malware is present in that data, it may eventually result in changing the device’s programming.
  • Code injection. The attacker can inject code into the device by taking advantage of a weakness in the software. a bit more of the same, then a bit more of the same, then a bit more of that, then a bit more of that, then a bit more of that, then a bit more of that, then a bit more of that.
  • Cross-Site Scripting. They operate with IoT gadgets that communicate via a web-based user interface. In essence, the attacker inserts malware or harmful code into the genuine page, which subsequently infects the IoT device.

Malware attacks

The most prevalent and well-known malware assaults on PCs target a device’s login credentials. Nevertheless, more recently, IoT devices have been infected by ransomware and other malware kinds.

The most vulnerable devices to this type of danger are smart Televisions and other comparable gadgets, as users may unintentionally click on malicious links or download infected programmes.

Password attacks

A device’s login information is the subject of password attacks like dictionary attacks or brute force attacks, which bombard the target with numerous password and username combinations until they locate the right one.

These assaults are largely successful since the majority of users select an obvious password. Also, a research found that about 60% of users use the same password again. An attacker can thereby access all devices if they gain access to one.

Sniffing / Man-in-the-middle attacks

A malevolent hacker intercepts the Internet communication entering and leaving a smart device during this assault.

The optimal target is a Wi-Fi router since it gathers all network traffic data and can be used to manage any connected device, including PCs and cellphones.


Device A is disguised to look like Device B in order to perform spoofing. Device A will deceive the router into permitting it on the network if device B has access to a wireless network. The cloaked device A can now communicate with the router and introduce malware. The remainder of the network’s devices then catch this malware’s spread.

Botnet enslaving

Internet of Things devices make excellent botnet prospects. They are both simpler to hack and more difficult to detect if compromised.

Once a device has been taken over, it can be utilised for a wide range of cybercrimes, including DDoS attacks, spam email sending, click fraud (essentially utilising the enslaved device to click an ad), and bitcoin mining.

The largest IoT botnet that we are aware of is called Mirai, and it was created using default users and passwords.

Remote access

At first sight, taking control of an IoT device doesn’t seem all that dangerous. It’s not like a bad hacker could poison you if he compromised your coffee maker, after all.

Nevertheless, if the assailant takes possession of your car while you’re driving it, things will rapidly become severe. White Hat hackers were able to break into the car’s braking and acceleration systems, so this isn’t even a hypothetical circumstance; it’s been done, although by cybersecurity researchers.

Smart locks are currently used by some people to secure their homes, however they are really just software on hardware. Researchers examined 16 smart locks at DEF CON 2016, the largest hacking conference in the world, and demonstrated how many of them employed extremely basic security measures including plain text passwords. Others were susceptible to replay or device spoofing attacks.

Data leakage

Many pieces of personal data are processed by smart gadgets, including:

  • medical data
  • location data
  • usage patterns
  • search history
  • financial information, etc.

8 Tips for Flawless IoT Security: 

Pay special attention when you choose the IoT devices providers 

Make sure to select a reputable supplier who has a solid reputation and is most likely to remain in business for a very long time. You need a manufacturer that consistently releases patches and addresses any security issues that can crop up since IoT devices require regular upgrades, especially when new security weaknesses are discovered.

Invest in a network analysis tool  

By purchasing a network analysis tool, you can keep an eye on activities and immediately spot possible security risks. By doing this, you can avoid overlooking instances of information being accessed without authorization or at odd times, both of which might be indicators of an IoT device breach of your company’s IT system.

Consider network management protocols a priority 

Manufacturers of IoT devices frequently incorporate an internal protocol that enables the monitoring of internal activity. Choosing IoT devices that enable Simple Network Management Protocols is essential for your organisation if you want the highest level of security as this is typically insufficient (SNMP). Network management is standardised globally by SNMP, enabling intrusion detection and prevention systems to keep track of them.

Consolidate your network’s security 

Because it may be the first point of attack, having an updated router with a firewall active is essential. Your network as a whole will be exposed if the router is compromised.

Make sure your IoT devices get patched up

Responsible manufacturers frequently offer security updates, but you must also make sure that your IoT devices are patched with the most recent patches on a regular basis. If you come across a gadget that isn’t updated, it’s best to consider whether its advantages outweigh the potential consequences of an attack on your business.

Remove unsupported operating systems, applications and devices from the network  

By doing an inventory to determine which operating system a device may be running, you can increase the IoT security for your company. An operating system shouldn’t be connected to the network if it isn’t receiving patches any longer.

Narrow down internal and external port communication on your firewalls 

Businesses should restrict outbound communication if that communication is not very important. According to Cyber Security Services,

Last but not least, change default passwords! 

The default passwords for every Internet of Things (IoT) device connected to your network must be updated, despite the fact that this may seem obvious. Also, the new passwords must be modified over time and kept in a password vault.

Wrapping Up

The Internet of Things is here, according to i-SCOOP, “despite hurdles, varied speeds, and the fast evolutions which we will observe until the first years of the next decade.” It’s also a reality that, in the end, there will be an increase in the amount of IoT security breaches.

One of the most significant technical trends since the smartphone is the Internet of Things, and it is expected to have a similar influence. Sadly, the potential and promise they present are just as alluring to fraudsters as they are to legitimate clients. Therefore, it is now necessary to secure connected devices; it is no longer an option.


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