This article will shed light on the IoT attack surface, significant risks associated with unsecured connected devices, and some best practices to mitigate these risks.
With teams focused on securing IT endpoints and servers, the increase of unsecured IoT devices in the network makes them an appealing ingress vector for cyberattacks and a rich target environment. The mediums mentioned below can lead to data leaks or cyberattacks if not appropriately secured. Once an initial breach occurs, malicious payloads can spread laterally across the network, compromising multiple systems.
Devices have vulnerabilities within their physical & web interface, memory systems, network services, and firmware. As a result, a hacker can get into the outdated components of the system and insecure default settings.
Most applications have significant risks, and many web applications do not adequately protect sensitive data. This data can be credit card information, personally identifiable information, patient data, or intellectual property.
Threats can also originate from the mediums that connect IoT devices. Attacks can present severe threats to the system, which lay the foundation for an unstable network surface.
Data theft is a risk associated with employees using their own devices for work. If you let your employees use their devices at work, this can open an opportunity for cybercriminals to make your organization's data vulnerable to them.
Employees will be using the same device for personal applications. If, for instance, their account is hacked, it can eventually expose corporate data and confidential business information.
Customers expect that their information shared with an organization is protected. The reputation of a business is compromised if a security breach happens at their organization, particularly a Managed Services Provider (MSP). Suppose an employee-owned device becomes the ingress vector of a data breach, and confidential information is lost. In that case, the organization might have to face severe consequences such as the possibility of litigation and damage to the brand. The cost of a data breach results in revenue loss and can potentially put smaller organizations out of business.
If your devices are not secured as they connect, this can give access to confidential data of your users to bad actors. There are many possibilities where employees are likely to connect their devices to the internet at certain places. Take an example of a hospital where someone connects a raspberry pi to scan the net and loses data to bad actors.
AI-Based attacks have been in the wild since 2007. These attacks are becoming more prominent with the development of the IoT ecosystem. As AI developments advance, hackers become more proficient at exploiting the technology. They are developing AI-based tools that are faster and more efficient than humans in conducting a cyberattack.
Therefore, it is necessary to level up AI in your organization so that you can compete with these threat actors and save your business from a successful security breach. AI vs AI in Cybersecurity is already here.
Malware can be present on an employee's device. Employees use their devices to download many files and applications for personal use, such as PDFs, mobile games, and tools. For example, an employee downloads a game that either has vulnerabilities or purposefully contains malicious code. Whenever he connects the device to the corporate network, or even worst, an operational technology network, these can become compromised too.
IoT devices are also at risk if they are authenticated with weak passwords or if the factory passwords are not changed. One weak password is all it takes to access your organization's information. If the employees at your organization do not follow the password management policies, it can lead to data exfiltration and loss.
Obviously, there are serious risks associated with unsecured IoT devices. But there are specific best practices to prevent data breaches where IoT is the ingress point.
The zero trust model is a framework organizations use to authenticate, authorize, and continuously verify the identity of all users, devices, and applications before granting them access to any resource in the network. Although it’s been around for over a decade, it was very difficult to operationalize until very recently. As of 2022, the U.S. Federal Government is embracing the model and encouraging the private sector to follow suit, as it is a proven framework that considerably reduces the attack surface and likelihood of successful breaches.
As technology rapidly evolves and IoT security improves, the way threat actors attack also adapts. It is practically impossible to fully eliminate the risk of an initial breach of the network perimeter. However, you can always minimize the risk as much as possible by reducing the attack surface to the minimum, as well as the blast radius of a breach. By preventing lateral movement of malicious network traffic through identity-based microsegmentation and least privilege access control, you guarantee that breaches are contained, detected, and remediated faster. Analyze the risks of IoT in the workplace and follow proper best practices to reduce the likelihood of a successful data breach. A successful breach is one that manages to exfiltrate, encrypt or destroy data beyond the compromised device. Attacking a single vulnerable IoT device should not compromise the whole network and business operations.
Elisity delivers frictionless, centrally managed zero trust access security to effectively and efficiently protect corporate data and critical assets from malicious lateral movement across the network. Cognitive Trust is Elisity’s cloud-native and cloud-delivered solution for identity-based segmentation and least privilege access of users, applications, and devices (managed and unmanaged), on-prem and in the cloud. The solution enables organizations to quickly gain visibility into network assets and traffic flows, and begin building policies to protect the most critical enterprise assets. Elisity is backed by Two Bear Capital, AllegisCyber Capital, and Atlantic Bridge.
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