Internet of Things (IoT) solves the critical problems of many sectors, from production to health, from transportation to logistics. However, the increasing security risks for IoT networks require caution when taking advantage of connected devices.
Interconnected IoT objects are not the same devices, objects, or services. Each object has a different purpose, interface, operating mechanism, and underlying technology. Given this diversity, applying a single security structure and approach for all objects is not enough to provide the security needed for IoT networks. IoT security initiatives protect IoT devices connected over a network with preventive methods and aim to prevent large-scale cyber-attacks that can be carried out over them. Like any other computing device, IoT devices are potential entry points for attackers to breach a company’s network. Therefore, robust security measures are needed to protect them.
Today, the scope of IoT has expanded to include traditional industrial machines, equipping them with the ability to connect and communicate with a network. You can see that IoT technologies are now used in medical devices or for various purposes such as education, manufacturing, business development, and communication. Increasing use cases make the security of IoT networks more critical than ever before. According to the Gartner, 61 percent of companies’ IoT networks and strategies show a high level of maturity.
IoT devices can connect to a network or the Internet to exchange data with other connected objects or centers. These devices are not limited to smart TVs or smartwatches. Printers, washing machines, air conditioners, smart sensors, and other industrial machines connected to networks are also IoT devices. The way IoT is implemented today requires institutions and organizations to have ecosystems consisting of many different devices. It is crucial to utilize a combination of IoT security solutions, strategies, and techniques rather than traditional approaches to ensure the security of this ecosystem.
Security tips for IoT networks
Companies can take a few main measures to ensure the security of their IoT networks. These include using authorized software on IoT devices and authenticating an IoT device on the network before collecting or sending data. Because they have limited computational capability and memory, it is necessary to set up firewalls to filter packets sent to IoT endpoints.
On the other hand, you should also ensure that updates and patches are installed without consuming additional bandwidth. In addition to the general security measures above, we recommend that you consider some unique security approaches when planning the security of IoT devices. In addition to device and network security, you also need to ensure the physical safety of the overall IoT and communications infrastructure.
You can adopt the following security approaches to secure IoT devices:
- Ensure physical security: Keep IoT devices relatively isolated and protected from physical access.
- Deploy tamper-proof devices: Use tamper-proof IoT devices. These devices deactivate themselves when tampered with.
- Keep firmware up-to-date: Be proactive in applying updates and patches to your devices as soon as manufacturers release them.
- Run dynamic tests: Run tests to uncover hardware code weaknesses and vulnerabilities.
- Set device replacement procedures: Set procedures for replacing IoT devices when they become obsolete. Carelessly discarded or discarded devices can pose a threat to corporate data and serve a variety of malicious purposes that harm your organization.
- Use strong authentication: Avoid default passwords that pose a password hacking threat. Use complex passwords for authentication and update them periodically.
- Leverage adaptive authentication: Adaptive authentication, or context-sensitive authentication (CAA), uses contextual information and machine learning algorithms to assess malicious intent. In this way, users are asked to perform two-factor authentication in scenarios that are perceived as high risk.
- Implement strong encryption and protocols: Allocate secure data transfer media using strong encryption on Bluetooth, Zigbee, Z-Wave, Thread, Wi-Fi, cellular, 6LoWPAN, NFC, and similar IoT protocols.
- Limit device bandwidth: Limit network capacity and bandwidth to the lowest possible value, sufficient for device operation but not usable in IoT-based distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.
- Segment the network: Divide your network into smaller local IoT networks using virtual local area networks (VLANs), IP address ranges, and a combination of these. This partitioning process allows you to create different security zones and specify different segments controlled by firewalls.
- Protect sensitive information: Prevent sensitive personally identifiable information (PII) leaks by restricting the discovery of IoT devices. Require authorized clients to implement appropriate service mechanisms and authentication protocols to discover the IoT device.