Internet of Things (IoT) technology has brought convenience to our world. However, the popularity of these devices has also come with its fair share of security risks.
Businesses predicted that business email compromise attacks would significantly rise in 2023, followed by ransomware and attacks on cloud management interfaces. At the same time, 11% of respondents predicted an increase in nation-state-sponsored attacks on vital infrastructure.
Therefore, it is imperative to be aware of and learn how to avoid them when dealing with IoT products.
So let’s explore all the details about what is IoT security and all the relevant security risks of IoT!
Significance of IoT Devices in Our Daily Life
Devices, buildings, and vehicles embedded with electronics, software, and sensors are part of the Internet of Things.
By 2025, forecasts suggest that more than 75 billion Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices will be used.
IoT creates opportunities for better analytics through sensor data collected from all types of devices (e.g., smartphones) at a large scale.
This means that customers can now have better experiences with their products because companies have access to more detailed information about them (e.g., their preferences).
What is IoT Security Risk?
IoT security has been a hot topic for a while now. It’s one of the most critical issues facing the industry today. The rapid growth of IoT devices has led to an influx in the number of attacks on connected devices and networks.
IoT devices are more vulnerable than traditional computers and represent a new attack vector that hackers can exploit.
The most recent Mirai botnet attack is a perfect example of how vulnerable IoT devices can be used to launch massive distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against websites and services.
IoT and Data Security Risks
The IoT has brought about many positive changes in our daily lives. However, there are also some risks associated with it. One of these security risks of IoT is data security.
Here are some examples of how data security can be compromised due to security risks of IoT:
- Botnet: Botnets, networks of compromised devices, pose IoT security risks by enabling coordinated cyberattacks, data breaches, and unauthorized access.
- GDPR: General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) enforces data privacy, impacting IoT systems by requiring stringent user data protection and consent measures.
- ICS: Industrial Control Systems (ICS) face IoT security risks due to potential remote attacks that could disrupt critical infrastructure and operations.
- IPSec: Internet Protocol Security (IPSec) enhances IoT data security through encryption and authentication, ensuring confidential and reliable communication.
- NIST: National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) guidelines offer IoT security recommendations, helping organizations fortify their IoT ecosystems.
- IAM: Identity and Access Management (IAM) in IoT ensures authorized user access, mitigating unauthorized control and data breaches.
- PAMS: Privileged Access Management Systems (PAMS) secure IoT devices by limiting high-level access and controlling privileged activities.
- Ransomware: Ransomware threats to IoT devices encrypt data, demanding ransom payments, leading to data loss or unauthorized access if not mitigated.
- Shadow IoT: Shadow IoT encompasses unmanaged IoT devices that pose security risks, lacking proper oversight and integration into security protocols.
- PKI: Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) in IoT ensures secure data transmission and device authentication through cryptographic key management.
- TLS: Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption secures IoT data during transmission, safeguarding against eavesdropping and data tampering.
- ZERO Trust: ZERO Trust approach in IoT security treats all devices as potentially compromised, enforcing strict access controls to prevent breaches and lateral movement.
Related Read: Data Security Solutions Best Practices
IoT Email Authentication: Why It Matters
Email is one of the most important communication channels in today’s business world. It has been used to send and receive information, collaborate with colleagues, and manage complex processes for decades.
The Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem is no exception — emails are used to manage everything from security alerts to device configuration and updates.
Now that we’re in an age where nearly every device has an IP address, IT professionals must understand how email can be used as part of their IoT strategy.
Let’s take a look at how IoT email authentication can help improve your operations:
Remote Control and Monitoring
Email provides an effective communication channel for remote monitoring and control of IoT devices worldwide via mobile apps or web portals.
Notifications and Support Resources
IoT email authentication makes it easy for customers to receive notifications about new products or upcoming events. They also provide customers with 24/7 access to support resources, such as FAQs and tutorials.
This helps reduce call volumes, which translates into better customer service and happier customers.
Enhanced Efficiency and Collaboration
Email is an efficient way to connect with anyone in your organization or outside of it. It allows you to collaborate with colleagues on projects and helps you manage tasks more effectively.
Incident Management and Security Alerts
Email is a great way to disseminate critical information about an incident or security alert quickly. With this method of communication, you can easily keep all employees informed in real time without having to call or text every single person manually.
Seamless IoT Device Integration
With email integration, your IoT devices can seamlessly integrate with your business’s existing communication tools – including voicemails, meetings, and conference calls – so that you don’t need additional software or hardware.
This integration also makes it easy for end users to access their devices’ functionality anywhere.
IoT Email Security Risks
IoT email security risks are a concern for both enterprises and consumers alike.
So what are some of these threats? Here are some key areas where IoT email security risks arise:
IoT Email Encryption Complexity
Encryption to protect sensitive data, such as medical records or financial information, is widespread among healthcare providers and financial institutions.
However, encrypting IoT emails presents unique challenges due to the large number of endpoints involved in an IoT email exchange and the complexity of each endpoint.
Authentication Weaknesses in IoT Email
IoT devices often lack robust authentication protocols, making them vulnerable to spoofing attacks and other forms of social engineering.
Suppose a hacker can gain access to a device’s IP address. In that case, they can send emails as if they were coming from someone else — potentially tricking users into disclosing confidential information.
IoT Email Spoofing
A malicious entity can use an IoT device as a proxy for sending out fake emails from another account or domain. This can make it appear like someone else sent the email.
It’s also possible for an attacker to use a legitimate email address and spam emails to trick people into clicking on links or opening attachments that could infect their computer with malware.
Addressing IoT Email Protocol Vulnerabilities
IoT email protocol vulnerabilities allow hackers to modify emails before they reach their destination. This can cause problems ranging from simple service disruptions to data loss.
IoT Email Privacy in a Connected World
Many people are concerned about privacy when using IoT devices at work or home.
Hackers can easily use this information to target individuals or organizations with social engineering attacks such as phishing emails or ransomware attacks.
IoT Email Privacy in a Connected World
As more devices connect to the internet and collect personal data, there is an increased risk of disclosing this data to unauthorized parties.
IoT Email Delivery Reliability Concerns
The nature of the IoT ecosystem means that many devices send emails but do not receive them due to connectivity issues or other reasons.
This may result in missed alerts or notifications from connected devices leading to reduced performance, which can be costly for businesses whose operations rely on these devices.
IoT Email Filtering for Malicious Content
The growing number of threats targeting devices connected to the internet means that it is essential for organizations to implement security solutions that can detect malicious content before it reaches end users’ inboxes.
Using DMARC For IoT Email Authentication
DMARC can help protect organizations from phishing attacks on their email domains by making it more difficult for malicious actors to spoof legitimate email messages from your domain.
By using DMARC, you can ensure that emails sent from your domain are delivered with greater confidence and certainty.
- Advanced Phishing Mitigation: DMARC provides a powerful shield against sophisticated phishing attacks, ensuring malicious emails are detected and thwarted before they reach users.
- Robust Defense Against Email Spoofing: With DMARC, email spoofing attempts are effectively countered, preventing unauthorized sources from impersonating your domain and sending deceptive emails.
- Elevated Email Security Standards: DMARC raises the bar for email security by enforcing stringent authentication measures and safeguarding your IoT communications from unauthorized access.
- Preservation of Brand Integrity: By preventing unauthorized emails from tarnishing your brand’s image, DMARC protects your reputation and preserves user trust.
- Assured Trust in Communication Channels: DMARC ensures that emails from your IoT devices are genuine, establishing a secure and reliable communication environment.
- Mitigation of Cybersecurity Threats: DMARC’s robust authentication mechanisms mitigate potential cybersecurity threats from fraudulent emails, strengthening your email infrastructure.
Measures to Mitigate IoT Security Risks
IoT is a new and exciting field but still needs its share of risks.
Fortunately, several measures can be taken to mitigate IoT security risks.
The first step in securing an IoT network is to segment it from other networks and systems on your network.
This will prevent attackers from using compromised devices as a jumping-off point for spreading malware into other parts of your network.
Firmware Integrity Verification
Many IoT devices are shipped with default passwords and default credentials that can be easily accessed by attackers who want access to these devices.
To ensure these credentials are changed before deploying them in production environments, use tools to find vulnerable devices on your network and update their firmware with secure credentials before turning them on.
Runtime Application Monitoring
This is an automated method of detecting bugs in apps during runtime. It monitors web applications, mobile apps, and IoT devices.
The main advantage of this method is that it acts as a watchdog to identify vulnerabilities before they can lead to any real damage.
Containerization and Sandboxing
This technique allows the application developer to put the device in an isolated environment that cannot affect other applications or services on the system.
This ensures that only authorized data can get into or out of the system and prevents unauthorized access by hackers or malware.
Dynamic Key Management with HSMs
Organizations can use an HSM to create and manage keys for IoT devices. This adds an extra layer of security by ensuring that only authorized users can access sensitive data.
Secure Software Engineering Practices
Organizations should follow secure software engineering practices such as code review, testing, and other techniques when developing their IoT systems.
These are necessary because many security vulnerabilities exist due to poor coding practices (e.g., buffer overflows).
Encryption and Authentication Techniques
Encryption can protect data in transit or at rest on devices and servers. In contrast, authentication techniques such as two-factor authentication (2FA) can be used to protect access to systems and applications.
If designing the perfect IoT security policy seems impossible, it’s because it is.
As long as people are involved in designing and developing IoT systems, we’ll see mistakes made and vulnerabilities introduced.
But that doesn’t mean we should give up: we owe it to ourselves and our future to learn from these mistakes and find ways to minimize risk.