Internet of Things (IoT) Security in 5 Steps

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We can define the Internet of Things (IoT) as a collection of various hardware and software devices and tools connected on one or multiple networks on the Internet. With an ever-increasing number of connected devices on the IoT networks, ensuring optimal IoT security is vital for tools and businesses to remain functional.

What is the Internet of Things Security?

We can define IoT security as a combination of various rules, strategies, and deployed security tools to ensure uptime, performance, stability, and maximum security of IoT-connected devices and the networks on which they reside.

With the advent of decreasing hardware costs and rise in their power and efficiency, in combination with increasingly smarter software, the Internet of Things global market is growing rapidly, expected to reach more than $1.3 trillion by 2026. Unfortunately, malicious actors, whose goal would be to find vulnerabilities and develop exploits on IoT networks, would be drawn to this potentially lucrative market.

Kaspersky reported 12 million Internet of Things attacks from 69,000 IP addresses in the first half of 2018. That number grew to an astonishing 105 million attacks from more than 270,000 IP addresses the following year.

Companies and organizations must invest capital, manpower, and infrastructure in enhancing their security against cybercrimes and cyberterrorism. As the projected amount of IoT devices is expected to grow to over 30 billion by 2025, ensuring good security practices is becoming more critical and complex.

How to Secure IoT Devices

In today’s interconnected world, every individual and business relies on using a significant amount of hardware and software resources to conduct their daily lives and operations. Due to how those IoT devices operate, a substantial amount of critical data is collected daily.

No one wants to become a victim of a cyberattack. Here are some security approaches that can ensure Internet of Things security in your ecosystem.

1. Have a Specialized Security Team

Create a specialized IoT security team in your organization that would serve as a centralized entity handling all company-related security practices. The team would handle everything from their design to implementation and monitoring, incident management, and improving the security prospect of the organization. The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) should lead the Internet of Things security team with experts from various fields reporting to that person.

Some security experts include:

  • Security analysts
  • Security engineers
  • Device security engineers

2. Enforce Device Security

Ensure maximum physical security of your devices against intrusions such as theft and damage. Increase physical security by storing your vital devices in secure spots and under locked doors/access points. We also recommend keeping track of all your IoT device inventory.

Inventory logs should include:

  • Device manufacturer
  • Serial numbers
  • Hardware
  • Software versions

3. Secure Network Connections

Ensure optimized, reliable, and secure network connections on which your devices reside, including:

  • Firewall adjustments.
  • Using a VPN.
  • Securing your Internet gateways.
  • Implementing software updates for network devices (like hardware firewalls and switches).
  • Proactively working through scenarios like DDoS attacks.

4. Enhance Your Server Security

Take the following measures to mitigate DDoS attacks:

  • Optimize your firewall settings.
  • Scale your infrastructure.
  • Preemptively work with your upstream providers to have a plan for such scenarios.
  • Have DDoS protection.

5. Implement Password Safety

As hackers like to employ brute force attacks, it is important to never use default passwords on your devices and network and implement a policy of password best practices by:

  • Using complex passwords.
  • Having password manager software.
  • Enforcing two-factor authentication.
  • Enabling brute-force detection.
  • Limiting password attempts.
  • Disabling password hints.

General Security Best Practices

Additionally, make sure your organization is adhering to general security practices by:

  • Ensuring software and operating systems on IoT devices are fully up-to-date, including any antivirus software and its definitions.
  • Users locking their computers when they are not being used.
  • Verifying that nobody is watching you input your passwords.
  • Keeping track of security access cards.
  • Using and securing biometric authentication methods.

Organizations should also immediately report and work on exploits on their networks. The longer an exploit is active, the more complex and costly it becomes to mitigate it. We can recommend having data backup and disaster recovery plans in motion to decrease the costs and downtime for such cases.

Those mitigation steps have become increasingly important in the current global state of things due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A significant portion of the workforce went from being in-office workers to remote workers, requiring access to company materials off-site. The security of IoT devices, especially those accessing internal resources or confidential data, is a critical key to your business.

Conclusion

We have extended our coverage of the Internet of Things. Multiple global environments move within the IoT ecosystem, which is revolutionizing everyday life for billions of people. To ensure stability and minimize systemic risks, it is of utmost importance to optimize the security of devices connected to the Internet.

To ensure your server is free of malware and vulnerabilities, we recommend using several of Liquid Web's security add-ons to increase your server’s protection and your business. In addition, our Sales Team is available to assist you, so contact us today!

About the Author: Thomas Janson

Thomas Janson joined Liquid Web's Operations team in 2019. When he is not behind the keyboard, he enjoys reading books, financial statements, playing tennis, and spending time outdoors.

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