The Importance of IoT Security: Safeguarding Your Connected Devices


Intertrust publishes blog posts on security best practices for National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. This week’s post focuses on IoT security.

IoT devices can be vulnerable to a range of threats. To protect them, businesses should implement security best practices like changing default credentials, implementing two-factor authentication, segmenting networks and training employees.

Keep Your Firmware Updated

Keeping the firmware on your IoT devices updated is crucial. This is especially important to understand what is IOT security and the importance of systems connected to business and consumer networks. If these devices are not properly updated, they can become vulnerable to hackers who want to gain access to sensitive information.

For example, hacking IoT devices that control critical infrastructure like power plants can cause a blackout and even result in loss of life. In the healthcare industry, ransomware hackers who infect IoT devices can steal patient records and delay treatment for time-sensitive conditions.

To protect your IoT devices, consider changing default credentials to prevent unauthorized users from accessing sensitive data and installing software updates regularly. In addition, you should implement a zero-trust network security model whereby all devices and users are verified and authenticated every time they connect to your IoT network. In addition, you should also encrypt your data and use multi-factor authentication, such as a password, biometrics, pass card or dongle, for added protection against cyber attacks. You should also keep your IoT devices isolated from other systems by using a firewall, intrusion detection, and device management solution with built-in security features.

Isolate Your IoT Network

IoT devices often communicate with each other and other systems on a network, making them easy targets for attack. In addition, IoT security requires unique practices for implementing device and infrastructure protections.

Isolating your IoT network can help reduce risk by ensuring that IoT devices don’t have access to sensitive data from other network devices. Separating IoT devices from critical business systems can also prevent data breaches caused by malware infection or device malfunction.

One good way to segment your IoT network is to turn off Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) on your router. UPnP allows IoT devices to discover each other, like Windows computers’ Plug and Play feature. However, it can also expose IoT devices to the public internet and allow hackers to find them.

When the devices we use to monitor our homes and businesses get hacked, it can be devastating. Hackers can steal personal information, such as your music preferences or even images of you, from your home surveillance system and then use that to target other systems.

According to Timothy A. Scott, criminal defense attorney in San Diego, safeguarding your connected devices is crucial for several reasons, as our world becomes increasingly reliant on technology and interconnected devices. Connected devices often collect and transmit personal and sensitive information. Safeguarding these devices helps protect your privacy, preventing unauthorized access to personal data, such as emails, photos, and financial information.

Use Two-Factor Authentication

Many consumer IoT devices have minimal security features, making them easy targets for hackers. A study found that many IoT devices expose sensitive information—like credentials and music preferences—to the open internet, which can be used in identity theft or cyber attacks against other networks.

IoT device manufacturers must do more to protect their products. They should include security features in their design and engineering processes, ensure firmware updates are vetted by security teams, and educate consumers about the dangers of IoT devices.

It’s also important to use two-factor authentication whenever possible to keep bad actors out of your device accounts—if an app offers this option, enable it! Also, avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi when managing your IoT devices and never share passwords—if hackers can crack one password, they can use it for all your other connected devices. Passwords should also be strong and unique. Lastly, turn off IoT devices’ unused features, services, and ports. This can help reduce vulnerabilities and improve performance.

Change Your Passwords Regularly

Changing your passwords regularly is important for any device, but it’s especially true for IoT devices. If a cybercriminal guesses one of your passwords, they can easily access all your other connected devices. That’s why it’s important to have unique and complex passwords and to change them regularly.

In addition to changing your passwords, consider turning off features like Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) in your Wi-Fi router. UPnP is designed to help devices discover each other, but it also can allow hackers to locate your IoT devices from the outside.

Moreover, it would help if you considered segmenting your IoT network and training employees about risks and best practices. You should also evaluate the security track record of vendors before procuring their products. In addition, it’s important to use a firewall and minimize each IoT device’s bandwidth. This will reduce the risk of a distributed denial-of-service attack. Check Point’s IoT protection solutions address these issues. Request a demo to learn more.

Install a Firewall

Whether it’s a baby monitor, security camera or smart thermostat, most connected devices can be hacked to steal personal information, launch denial-of-service attacks or cause physical harm. The reality is that most IoT devices aren’t designed with security in mind, and cybercriminals use them as a way into your network.

A hacked printer or security camera might seem inconvenient, but it’s just step one for a criminal. They might harvest your credentials and passwords to sell on the black market or use them as a stepping stone into your corporate network.

Keeping firmware updated, securing networks with zero trust access and using two-factor authentication are all essential to protect your connected devices. It’s also important to ensure each device has a unique name and password. This will prevent hackers from exploiting the same vulnerabilities in multiple devices. Turning off UPnP, which helps devices discover each other, can also help. This feature is used sparingly can allow hackers to expand their control. The best way to safeguard IoT devices is to limit their active time on your home or business network.

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