Effective Security Methods for Internet of Things(IoT)

Effective Security Methods for Internet of Things

Table of Contents

Anything living or non-living that is sensitive asks for security. Flowers require a gardener, and children need a guardian. Likewise, a sensitive network demands cybersecurity.

In this blog, we will look at this particular problem of network sensitivity and the Effective Security Methods for Internet of Things (IoT).

Internet of Things (IoT) devices like smart locks, digital assistant Alexa, and smart machines got popular like wildfire for easing the life of humans and transforming the working of businesses. 

While the IoT have reduced human errors and operational cost, it has increased the efficiency of machines and saved time, this has all the more left the network security open to cyberattacks.

To understand these cyber threats and ways to secure IoT devices, let us learn the meaning of IoT security and its importance for us.

Key Takeaways

  • Learn the Meaning of Internet of Things (IoT) Security
  • Understand the Importance of IoT Security
  • Know the Security Methods of IoT

What is the Internet of Things Security?

IoT Security is understood as the ways and means to identify, monitor, fix, and protect AI-embedded, cloud-computing, and big-data-based smart electronic devices.

The cloud connectivity of IoT gadgets distinguishes them from smartphones and laptops. This feature itself makes these devices vulnerable to security threats, hacks and frauds. 

All the IoT devices connect to the main Cloud Database and Command & Control Centre (C&C) through an Application Programming Interface (API)

Here, the C&C provisions the authentication tasks, software maintenance, system configurations, firewall protection and firmware update. Weak encryption and authentication programmes from the vendor side revealing this API to an intruder can lose control of the device, weakening device security.

Thereupon, the absence of device infra management protocols, data protection tools, and strong password and authentication protocols makes this IoT network vulnerable to cyber threats.

Challenges to IoT

The following are the major challenges threatening the security of IoT devices:

1. Developer-side Security Challenges

  • Cloud-data Security
  • Authentication Processes
  • Lack of Diagnosis
  • API vulnerabilities

2. User and Vendor-side Security Challenges

  • Weak passwords
  • User Education to Cybersecurity
  • Absence of Updates

1. Developer-side Security Challenges:

  • Cloud-data Security: Securing the cloud locations where data is stored in a job full of loopholes and security leakages.
  • Authentication Processes: The absence of full-proof authentication techniques poses privacy invasion threats, identity theft, and intrusion attacks.
  • Lack of Diagnosis: No thorough penetration testing is done thoroughly for many IoT application security solutions, data security protocols and other device-network interactions.
  • API vulnerabilities: Vulnerable APIs make the IoT network sensitive to MITM (Man-in-the-Middle), DDoS and coding-bug assaults; the outdated softwares leads to bot attacks, malware, and phishing attacks, exploiting in bulk.

2. User and Vendor-side Security Challenges:

  • Weak passwords: Weak or default passwords in IoTs, endanger the internet firewalls to botnets (e.g. Mirai), malware (e.g. RapperBot), and DDoS attacks.
  • User Education to Cybersecurity: Educating the users about IoT network security risks and the importance of cybersecurity solutions is also a challenge. The manufacturers can’t compel the users to strengthen their passwords or install IoT device firewall updates.
  • Absence of Updates: Unlike in the mobile apps, users don’t update the cloud-app security from the manufacturer site to protect their IoT network against bugs, internet firewall threats and any other malpractices by hackers.

Why is IoT security important?

IoT Security becomes crucial for both users and developers because of the reasons as follows:

  1. Cybersecurity Mismanagement
  2. Prevent Data Theft
  3. Physical Threats
  4. Terrorist Attack and Weaponisation of IoT
  5. Threatens Financial Systems of a Nation

1. Cybersecurity Mismanagement

The absence of standard international protocols and national laws and policies leads to cybersecurity mismanagement.

2. Prevent Data Theft

Big data stored by device management systems hold private data of individuals, like browsing history, location, purchase transcripts, bank details, health profiles, and many more. Its leakage amount to privacy invasion and data theft.

Physical Threats: Medical practitioners of IoT medical devices losing control to IoT network attackers, pose a threat to the patient. Also, if a hate-monger gets access to the home address of an enemy individual, this may threaten the life of that person.

3. Terrorist Attack and Weaponisation of IoT

If IoT networks in aeroplanes, nuclear plants, and High-security Zones like airports and the national Parliament are hijacked, it endangers national security.

4. Threatens Financial Systems of a Nation

With access to a banking network, perpetrators can cause data theft or fraud from remote locations using scripted tools, malware and botnets. 

Note: Shodan and Censys are the search engines specifically developed to discover such unprotected devices.

Security Methods for Internet of Things

Following are some of the effective IoT Security Methods: 

  1. Developer-side Best Practices:
  • Diagnosing and Debugging the Loopholes
  • Regularly Update the Web-Apps
  • Prevent API Leak
  • Prevent Unauthorised Users

2. User-side Practices

  • Strong Passwords
  • Careful Read of Privacy Policies
  • Use a VPN network
  • Restricting Access
  • Block Open Network Ports in Your IoT Network
  • Regularly Update the Web-Apps

1. Developer-side Best Practices

Diagnosing and Debugging the Loopholes: Diagnose if there are any loopholes in the security infrastructure, profile all the risks and threats, run a security protocol-driven risk profile, and enable debugging the loopholes at every phase with proper inspection and policy enforcement.

Regularly Update the Web Apps: The developers should keep updating the users to the latest debugged, loophole-free, and errorless security threatening issues from time to time.

Prevent API Leak: The service providers and vendors must secure API access by unauthorised users to avoid control of C&C and data centre.

Prevent Unauthorised Users: IoT network providers can block or limit unnecessary remote access using hacked login credentials by multi-step user login authentication and sending login updates to the subscriber.

2. User-side Practices

Strong Passwords: Secure with new, non-repetitive, and strengthened passwords during installation or setup. 

Careful Read of Privacy Policies: A careful read of the permissions and security policies is essential before allowing access to your personal data like device location, photo gallery, contacts info, messages, etc. Do not allow such access if not necessary.

Use a VPN network: Use a proxy network for accessing the IoT device from a remote or public internet network, as the IoT network may not be as secure as is your personal network. VPN encrypts the data, ensuring network security from any external vulnerabilities.

Restricting Access: Restrict access of IoT devices to social media platforms from accessing, storing and uploading your data to ensure data protection.

Block Open Network Ports in Your IoT Network: These are the most unsecured entry points for hackers to both the functions and the data of your IoT device.

Regularly Update the Web-Apps: Secure your device app architecture by getting it updated from the manufacturer’s websites to protect against bugs, malware, etc.

Conclusion

The more IoT devices are connected to a network, the wide is the security gap to data confidentiality breaches, hacking, and cybercrimes. 

This largescale network demands a holistic and multi-pronged security approach from the user and manufacturer’s side.

The above discussed, well framed, wholesome and effective security strategy of using best practices are the standard protocols and top-notch tools for ever evolving techniques and technologies to secure the internet architectures. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

1. What are the 5 best methods used for cyber security?

The 5 best methods used for cybersecurity are: 
1. Diagnosing and Debugging the Loopholes 
2. Preventing API Leak
3. Careful Read of Privacy Policies
4. Block Open Ports in Your IoT Network
5. Regulary Update the Web-Apps.

2. What are the 3 major factors affecting IoT security?

The 3 major factors that affect IoT security are as follows: 
1. Absence of device infra management protocols.
2. Lack of use of data protection security tools and techniques by developers.
3. No strong password and authentication policies.

3. Why do IoT devices pose a cybersecurity risk?

IoT devices pose cybersecurity risks since they are prone to fraud attacks, malware attacks, data theft, privacy breach, hacking, terrorist threats, physical threat by hate-mongers to individuals, companies and institutions.

4. What are the most common attacks that target IoT devices?

The most common attacks are hacking attacks like botnets (e.g. Mirai), malware attacks (e.g. RapperBot), DDoS attacks, and fraudulent attacks.

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