Nowadays, there is a lot of noise about the Internet of Things (IoT), as the technology has finally emerged into mainstream public view. IoT technology includes everything from wearable devices equipped with sensors that collect biometric data and smart home systems that enable users to control their lights and thermostats to connected toothbrushes designed to help improve brushing habits. These devices typically come with built-in electronics, software, sensors and actuators. They are also assigned unique IP addresses, which enable them to communicate and exchange data with other machines.
IoT devices make our lives easier. Smart home technology, for example, can help users improve energy efficiency by enabling them to turn on (and off) lights and appliances with the tap of a touchscreen. Some connected devices, such as smart medical equipment and alarm systems, can even help save lives.
However, there are also serious security risks associated with this technology. As the IoT ecosystem expands, so does the attack surface for cybercriminals to exploit. In other words, the more we rely on connected technology in our day-to-day lives, the more vulnerable we are to the cyberthreats that are increasingly tailored to exploit vulnerabilities and design flaws in IoT devices.
This presents a daunting challenge for cybersecurity professionals. They must not only protect their own devices, but they must also defend against threats targeting external machines that might connect to their networks.
Avoiding IoT Security Pitfalls
Potential consequences of an IoT data breach include loss of sensitive personal or enterprise information, which can lead to significant financial and reputational damage, massive distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks designed to take down major websites and more. These incidents often stem from misconfigurations, default or easy-to-guess passwords and inherent vulnerabilities in the devices themselves.