The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the growing network of devices that are embedded with network connectivity, allowing them to collect and exchange data, and be accessed through the internet. Some examples include vehicles, home automation devices, appliances, and building management systems.
IoT is driving automation, however the proliferation of IoT devices also increases the attack surface and risks for malicious cyberattacks to your environment. Your IoT devices can be compromised which can lead to disastrous consequences.
As such, businesses that use IoT devices need to carefully consider the security implications of these devices. Imagine the consequences of a hacker compromising your business’ security system and devices (say your CCTV cameras), or even hacking a temperature control system responsible for regulating temperature over critical infrastructure (your server room or refrigeration system perhaps?). As an example, consider the case where a Chrysler Jeep was demonstrated to be hacked remotely by security researchers using just a laptop. What could this mean to the safety of your staff using such a vehicle?
IoT enabled devices are also increasing the accessibility of powerful Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS) attacks. For example, the Mirai botnet was responsible for one of the largest DDoS attacks to date (which took down high profile websites such as Netflix and Twitter) and was executed using compromised IoT devices from around the world such as CCTV cameras, DVRs and routers.
There is no ‘silver bullet’ for IoT security; businesses will need to extend their security practices to consider IoT devices. However, below are some simple precautions that can be taken to reduce the risk exposure.
Change default administrator usernames and passwords on devices.
Following good password practices such as regularly changing passwords (and ensuring they are strong and unique) will reduce the risk of a successful attack.
Close inbound ports and apply network segmentation where practical.
Allowing only required outbound connections on devices will reduce exposure to threats. Security risks of leaving inbound ports open indefinitely include malware infections, theft of data, and arbitrary code execution. Applying network isolation to devices will also reduce the impact if the IoT device or another visible network device is compromised.
Buyer beware. Purchase IoT devices from reputable manufacturers that provide regular security patches.
Monitor your devices. A device that has unexpectedly gone offline could indicate tampering is taking place.
The Cordelta security team can provide advice on your security risks if you are considering IoT devices. Contact us for further details.