How IoT puts consumers at risk of cyber attacks
The “Internet of Things” (IoT) encompasses all devices and equipment that connect to the internet and communicate with each other. As more and more devices are “smart” and the IoT continues to expand, so does the potential for consumers to be exposed to cyber attacks.
People often take for granted the technology that they use in their home. We’ve become accustomed to talking into a remote to select what we want to watch on a smart TV, using our phones to open garage doors and control lights, and asking Alexa about the weather. Often, little attention is paid to these devices unless they stop working.
But what about the security of all of these devices that connect to the internet? Most people wouldn’t think about using a laptop that doesn’t have virus and malware protection. What can be done to mitigate the risk of a cyber attack for IoT devices?
“If these systems are designed with poor security measures anyone can access or hack these systems and retrieve highly personal data,” reports Kateryna Boiko for Cyber Defense Magazine.
Boiko emphasizes that cyber security experts and developers need to focus on preventative measures from the start, beginning with designing secure network architecture. With a secure framework in place, it’s much easier to maintain ongoing security than trying to resolve issues with an insufficiently secured network.
Next, it’s important to ensure only verified users can access these devices through robust authentication.
“Strong authentication requires that each IoT device in a system has a unique identity (ID) that can be verified when the device wants to connect to, for example, a central server,” says Boiko. “With this ID, system administrators can also manage devices securely and prevent them from performing unsecure actions.”
Even with a secure network and authentication in place, data encryption is vital. Developers must follow specific encryption standards, which should be verified and thoroughly tested for any vulnerabilities.
The same goes for open source software. Preferred for IoT devices because of the increased level of control and flexibility for developers, open source software, when left unmanaged, can become a huge security risk. All open source software must be carefully monitored and updated.
“Anyone can exploit security vulnerabilities through weak spots” says Boikos. “If this step is left incomplete, the Internet of Things hacking becomes a big possibility.”
When it comes to IoT, no amount of security is too much security. Additional layers of security will only help to ensure that consumers’ data remains private.
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