Each day, the rapidly evolving IoT landscape puts your systems at risk. As more data-generating devices enter your network in more locations, especially those remote and unprotected, the state of your company’s cyber security can start to give you headaches.
The same cyber hacking methodologies that were used to attack endpoints are now being used to attack connected devices. Yet endpoint detection and response tools we have today aren’t a match for IoT. This is because most vulnerabilities come from devices that utilize a variety of communication protocols and link to disparate proprietary systems. What complicates things further is that security patches for such heterogeneous networks are not easy to generate and deploy.
Many of older IoT devices have known, exploitable vulnerabilities. Enterprises who were early on the IoT train and have been using connected devices since the 1980s face the additional problem of not fully knowing what systems operate on their networks.
For all these reasons, the security approach for today’s IoT requires a more complex, multilevel approach. Use the practices listed below as your security checklist to help you minimize your network’s attack surface and save on security costs.
Hardware A basic security practice recommended at the hardware level is preventing physical access to the IoT devices to avert admin settings tampering. For a robust device authentication and to ensure the integrity of your platform, make sure that your hardware provider uses TPMs (trusted platform modules). TPMs contain cryptographic keys inside device chips, which link to the host system. Very important on the list is turning off what’s not in use. This includes latent ports, cameras, and microphones.
Data Transmission To avoid “man-in-the-middle” data transmission attacks at the communication level, enable in-house encryption and only allow on your network the devices that support it. Only use simple communication protocols that are peer reviewed and open source and instruct your team to eschew easy passwords. For your communications platform, consider LoRaWAN, which ensures 100% system encryption and cancels the risk of “weakest link” attacks out of the gate.
Static Data Keeping your firmware and software updated and removing them from service when they are no longer secure is highly recommended. As is avoiding technologies that are complex and remotely exploitable. But don’t just focus on data in motion. The static data that lives on unsecured cloud databases can become a gateway to a harmful breach.
The Cloud Protecting the cloud requires restricting and profiling incoming traffic to spot anomalies. To do so and prevent the crossover to your core network, relegate your IoT devices to a separate, firewalled, and monitored network. When moving sensitive data from edges to cloud always use encryption. Utilizing digital certificates will help you authenticate other cloud or third-party applications trying to communicate with your cloud service.
The Network For IoT network monitoring, use machine learning and behavioral analytics to detect patterns of data transmission in a network that are out of the norm. The AI will identify this abnormal behavior early and give you an opportunity to detect an intrusion and avert a cyber attack before it happens.
The Edge Placing a gateway between your IoT devices, especially if it’s a legacy system, and the rest of the company’s computing resources will enable you to secure your core assets without having to replace your expensive IoT machinery. This allows you to implement up-to-date visibility and security tools within the core and deal with the edge separately. This is helpful in an operational sense as well by providing a lower-latency management option. If you choose an edge computing IoT solution, consider edge gateways that utilize encryption and X.509 certificates. It’s best if these gateways also act as a protocol translator converting disparate data from multiple devices into a single protocol such as Messaging Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT).
The Internet Since connecting your endpoint devices to the internet exposes you to exploits on a global scale, for communication between your applications and devices consider LoRaWan instead. This cost saving wide area network helps you address security vulnerabilities without having to upgrade millions of devices.
The ever-shifting security landscape requires constant adaptation to new threats. It’s a demanding prospect, especially if IoT is not core to your business. Instead of creating an IoT security stack from scratch, consider working with a trusted IoT vendor.
Haxiot provides a comprehensive all-in-one IoT solution featuring end-to-end encryption and security. Learn more on our website and order your first IoT kit to get started!