The Internet of Things (IoT) is finding its way into nearly all aspects of our daily lives. As a result, it is accompanied by unique cybersecurity risks that we all need to consider. From an online security standpoint, IoT is a minefield.
The numerous connected devices in a typical network serve as potential entry points for people with malicious intentions.
IoT essentially transforms the world into a massive integrated IT system for the purpose of driving new business opportunities and generally improving our lives.
The result of this is that there is an increasingly large amount of corporate and personal information to be located in the cloud where it is shared with a multitude of devices. So one vulnerable point in the chain of devices could give bad actors an opportunity to access sensitive data.
As IoT continues to permeate all aspects of our daily lives, a number of security concerns emerge and one home network can pose a risk to the general public in the event that it is compromised. Various security challenges, therefore, need to be addressed as far as IoT is concerned.
Below are some of these security concerns along with what can be done to mitigate the attendant risks.
Mobile devices have replaced PCs as the gold standard
When they first came on the scene, mobile devices were only used by traveling salesmen. They have since become essential in people’s personal and professional lives.
They play an important role in companies’ information technology strategy as a critical component that integrates data safety policies and cybersecurity. Therefore, the whole system, including mobile devices, ought to be covered by an organization’s security procedure.
The complexity of IoT magnifies the risk of cybercrime
The fact that IoT involves the connection of a wide variety of diverse devices to numerous networks brings with it considerable risk.
It is becoming increasingly difficult for individuals and businesses to protect themselves against these cybersecurity risks because the security of each device in the chain affects the security of the entire network as a whole. Firmer control of networks and endpoint validation are therefore essential.
Public safety is continually impinged by cybersecurity
In addition to concerns about the leakage of data, the growing number of IoT networks exposes the grid to cyberattacks.
In the event that an IoT network is compromised, hackers will be able to access not only details of, say, a bank but also entire public infrastructures such as GPS tracking systems, traffic lights, power plants and water services. That considerably raises the stakes for implementing effective cybersecurity measures.
The proliferation of the IoT landscape presents privacy issues
Even if effective measures are taken to ensure the security of data, the attacks carried out by cybercriminals continue to demonstrate a higher level of sophistication.
Cyberattacks can be executed not only from public Wi-Fi networks, as was the case in the past, but also from private sources such as smartphones, smart cars and even smart homes. It is thus imperative to implement mandatory access control to keep networks safe from attackers.
Cybersecurity can be compromised as a result of data volumes
Collection of big data is further facilitated by the proliferation of IoT. Smart sensors are collecting data to be used by machine learning algorithms to improve products and service delivery and to enhance business decision-making processes.
As IoT continues to pose increasing risks to cybersecurity, it is advisable for companies to hire data security experts to keep the organizations’ networks and devices secure. These cybersecurity teams should keep up with innovative attacks by hackers and proactively create solutions.
Maintaining privacy and security on your IoT devices
As the world continues to become increasingly connected and more of our everyday devices send and receive data from the Internet in order to serve us better, it is more important to identify and ensure that our privacy and security are not compromised by the technology.
Hackers and government intelligence agencies have developed highly aggressive state-of-the-art technology that can potentially spy on you through seemingly Internet-enabled gadgets. For example, someone can use the microphone on your smart speaker to eavesdrop on your conversations.
Below are three measures you can take to ensure that your IoT devices do not unnecessarily open you up to the risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime.
1. Make sure your operating system and drivers are always up to date
Ensuring your devices’ OS and drivers are updated is vital. Some devices download and install updates automatically as soon as they’re available but many require you to do it manually.
Using an old version of the OS or drivers leaves you open to malware created by hackers who exploit bugs, which all software have. After all, they are developed by imperfect, fallible humans. Software updates plug holes and backdoors that can be used to hijack software and, ultimately, your device.
2. Use powerful antivirus and antimalware
Antimalware and antiviruses are essentially the same because viruses are simply one type of malware.
For IoT, it is especially crucial that you use antispyware, which is a specific form of antimalware that monitors your connection in real-time and scans for malware that is used specifically to spy on you through devices such as your webcam or the microphone on your smart speaker.
3. Use a VPN to protect all your IoT devices
This is among the most powerful tools in your arsenal for maintaining online privacy and security. VPN providers are increasingly focusing on developing security solutions for IoT devices.
As you may well know, a VPN does not prevent your data from being intercepted. All it does is make it impossible for anyone who intercepts the data to see the content of the data, thereby rendering it useless because it offers no personal information or insight into your online behavior.
Most IoT devices do not support VPN installation. Therefore, the best way of protecting data sent to and received from these devices is setting up your VPN on your router in order to encrypt the data for all the devices that use the network.