OT systems often communicate with each other over the internet, making them susceptible to attack. The infamous 2016 Mirai botnet is just one example of how OT devices have been misused and repurposed for malicious purposes. Cyber attacks against OT can degrade productivity and endanger human lives in the worst-case scenario. To protect against these threats, OT security solutions require specialized technology that addresses the unique requirements of production environments.
Without IoT security, the rudimentary vulnerabilities plaguing standard mobile devices allow attackers to steal personal information and access critical systems. These vulnerabilities include weak authentication tools that can be cracked with brute-force attacks and unsecured web apps and software. The top threats associated with IoT devices involve hackers accessing sensitive information, stealing money or data, and even attacking other systems like corporate networks or government infrastructure. For example, a hacker could use a rogue IoT device to cause a power outage or turn off centrifuges to create fissile nuclear material. In addition, IoT security solutions that enable end-to-end encryption can prevent attackers from intercepting data from or to IoT devices. Segmenting IoT devices into their isolated networks and implementing zero-trust policies is also possible, so only regular operational access is granted. This is especially important for the terabytes and petabytes of data IoT devices produce. OT security solutions can analyze this data to detect anomalies and provide relevant risk insights. The solutions can also identify and quarantine suspicious devices to limit the impact of malicious IoT activities.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has brought remarkable innovations, but it’s not without its security challenges. Hackers can take over IoT devices to steal data, expose information, or disrupt operations. They also use IoT devices as a gateway into corporate systems or a way to access personal information. IoT security solutions rely on encryption and protection to ensure data is not intercepted. This includes data transferred between an IoT device and its cloud server and data transmission from a device to a user. Encryption scrambles the data so that unauthorized parties cannot decipher it. Since IoT devices operate differently than traditional mobile devices, they require different cybersecurity rules. IoT security solutions offer detection, preventive monitoring, and response to protect against malware, ransomware attacks, internal sabotage, and more. IoT security solutions also provide isolation for IoT devices to prevent them from becoming attack vectors for attacks on other network parts. They also include tamper mitigation and side-channel attack mitigation technologies to defend against physical attacks on the chip inside the device.
A well-planned access control plan determines who can gain access to which objects and systems within an organization. It takes into consideration an individual’s something you know (password, PIN, answers to security questions), something you have (access card or key), and something you are (biometric factors such as fingerprint, iris, voice print, and more). Malicious parties often exploit insecure IoT devices to launch attacks on corporate networks. They can use unsecured routers and cameras to generate network traffic in DDoS attacks or, as in the case of the infamous Mirai botnet, serve as an attack platform. Attackers prey on ignorance, so ensuring your team has a complete inventory of networked IoT devices on the corporate network is essential to preventing cyber attacks. Ideally, your solution will be able to identify all connected IoT devices on the network within minutes. It should also have features like flexible reporting and scanning alongside antimalware solutions that monitor and detect all unauthorized activity. This includes communication attacks on data transmitted between devices and servers and lifecycle attacks on the device (for example, tamper mitigation or side channel attack detection). It should also encrypt all communications between a connected IoT camera and its applications and server and protect its hardware from physical attacks.
IT professionals must be able to identify and monitor all IoT devices connected to their network. Attackers prey on negligence, and a device that isn’t being monitored can be an easy target. This means deploying a solution that can quickly and accurately discover IoT devices connected to your corporate network. IoT security solutions should include a combination of hardware-based and software-based protection. Hardware-based protections operate at the lowest level of the device’s operations stack and can withstand attacks that bypass software-based solutions. In addition, hardware-based protection can be better suited for situations where the equipment is physically accessible. IoT security is a complex task, as the nature of IoT devices requires specific cybersecurity rules that are different from those used in smartphones and other typical mobile devices. Many of these devices need help to integrate sophisticated firewalls or antivirus software. As a result, IoT devices are common targets for cybercriminals who can use them to access sensitive information, steal financial data, or attack critical infrastructure systems.
Detection and Prevention
Many IoT devices connect to the network to collect data, but that connection opens up the device to attacks from other networks. Attackers can scan for open ports that could be used to launch attacks or hack into IoT devices and use them as a foothold into the network. With short development cycles and low price points, IoT devices don’t always come with built-in security features that would be standard on other IT hardware, such as a firewall or antivirus. The resulting vulnerabilities allow attackers to access the devices and the sensitive data they collect. The most effective way to prevent cyber threats is to detect and stop them. That starts with knowing what you’re dealing with, and a comprehensive inventory of IoT connections on your corporate network is crucial. Solutions that automatically discover devices in minutes, including those hidden behind your firewall, can help you identify potential threats. Also, implementing a solution that encrypts communication with devices (like mutual Transport Layer Security or mTLS) can protect against attackers who could intercept and hijack your IoT data.