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IoT-Related Risks in the Business Sector (for Companies)

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The Internet of Things home security systems can protect all IoT devices from attack. Businesses protect devices such as phones and computers with antiviruses, while the Internet of Things offers protection to appliances like fridges, cars, monitoring devices, and much more.
 


While consumer IoT devices provide lifestyle benefits, businesses strive to adopt IoT devices in order to save on costs. For example, when they turn their businesses into smart companies by using IoT devices in their processes, they reduce their costs and increase their net margin.
 

IoT and Business Security

 
The Internet of Things increases efficiency and productivity, but it can also come with risks that affect the business. IoT devices are usually connected to the internet, and they are vulnerable to hacking just like any other devices which are internet enabled. 
 
To protect your network sufficiently, you have to understand what security vulnerabilities IoT devices have. The devices connected to the internet have points of entry to bad actors which expose the network to external risks.
 
The network attack surface expands when new internet-connected devices are introduced. Businesses with large numbers of IoT devices are always at a security risk. Here are some significant risks that a business network is exposed to if it has no proper IoT cybersecurity:
 

Sabotage

 
When an IoT device is hacked, it allows the attacker to access all its functions. For example, if a heating system or machinery is hacked, they can disrupt business processes. A bad actor can hold hostage a vehicle and its occupants or demand payment in order to stop sabotaging an assembly line.

Related: Design Flaws in IoT Devices Prevent Them from Notifying about Hacks

 

Access to Sensitive Information

 
Business devices have access to sensitive data which they record, store, and stream. This is an IoT challenge because these devices are part of the business network. Security systems such as doorbells and cameras are also part of the network and can create major problems if they are hacked by a cybercriminal.
 
Some of the office equipment like printers are potential access points which if compromised, the attacker can see all the scanned and printed documents in the office.
 

Botnets

 
Botnets are infected devices that cybercriminals can bring into networks to cause DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks. The DDoS attacks can use the infected devices to send out targeted streams of network requests to computers, servers, or networks that the bad actor wants to bring down.
 
The target will receive too many network requests at the same time. And since it cannot handle all of them, it will crash and become unavailable to its real users.

Related: Security Tips for Configuring IoT Devices

 

Industries Most Vulnerable to IoT Security Threats

 
IoT devices may be a security risk for any business that doesn’t take security measures for their networks. But some industries are more vulnerable to attacks than others.
 
Industries that face the highest security risk are those whose IoT devices are integrated into the deeper core of their operations. For example, if they use their IoT devices for manufacturing, their efficiency is guaranteed, and the risks will only affect efficiency. But when all their production processes rely on smart technology, any single attach to this technology will disable the operations of the factory.
 
A good example is in 2010 when a Stuxnet virus infected a uranium plant in Iran. This damaged the centrifuges permanently. IoT malware is quickly increasing in usage, and any business that uses unsecured IoT devices can be held captive by hackers.
 
Small enterprises that record confidential customer information should also take precautions against such risks. The printers, webcams, digital doorbells, and security cameras are some of the devices that are prone to potential hacks. When hacked, these devices can reveal confidential information to attackers through their microphones and cameras.

Related: The Aztarna Tool Scans and Footprints Vulnerable Robots

 

How to Ensure Robust IoT Security

 
Securing your network and endpoints depends on the devices you have. But you also have to take certain precautions to ensure your IoT gadgets or appliances are secure.
 

Strengthen Your Passwords

 
Strong passwords will protect your IoT devices and prevent outsiders from taking control of their interfaces or web portals. Most IoT devices always come with default passwords which attackers already know.
 
Make sure you change default passwords for your devices. Introduce strong passwords to your network to increase your line of defence in case the attacker gains access using a device. This will hinder their attempts to gain access to your databases, files, and other devices. You should strengthen the password on your router to avoid compromising the whole network.
 

Patches

 
As a responsible manufacturer, you should release security updates for your IoT devices when you discover any vulnerabilities. Make sure your devices are regularly patched with the latest updates. Ensure all devices receive updates to prevent risks.
 

Network Security

 
Always have a secure, up-to-date router that is firewall-enabled. Routers are usually the first points of attack, and if they are compromised, they will make the entire network vulnerable. Install an endpoint security solution that will enable you to identify any network vulnerabilities.
 

Conclusion

 
The benefits of new technology are always exciting, especially when they can save the business some money and increase their productivity. You must take time to understand the risks that come with technology. IoT devices can improve the efficiency of the business, but you should take measures to ensure that they don’t leave the network vulnerable and open to outside attacks.





 

About the Author: Ella Blunn

 
Ella Blunn is an IoT Architect who also freelances as a blogger. She lives in Washington and her favorite activity for the weekend is improving and automating her home.  

SensorsTechForum Guest Authors

SensorsTechForum Guest Authors

From time to time, SensorsTechForum features guest articles by cybersecurity leaders and enthusiasts. The opinions expressed in these guest posts, however, are entirely those of the contributing author, and may not reflect those of SensorsTechForum.

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