Prerequisites of IoT Security: Software, Network, Physical

How To Get Ready With The Unprecedented Growth Of IoT Devices

IoT Security focuses on protecting networks and connected devices in the Internet of Things. For the readers who are new to IoT, it is a system of connected computing devices, digital and mechanical machines, animals, people, and objects. Each aspect has a unique identifier and an ability to transfer data on the network automatically. Once these devices are on the internet, they encounter grave vulnerabilities without proper protection.

Some recent high-profile incidents have surfaced, thus making IoT security a pressing topic. Cybercriminals use traditional devices to infiltrate and attack a network. Therefore, it is crucial to implement safety standards to ensure the protection of the IoT networks and their agents.

Challenges in IoT Security

IoT security has some difficulties in establishing end-to-end protection of devices and networks. Networking appliances are relatively unfamiliar, and protection isn’t even a crucial consideration in designing products. Moreover, the infancy stage of the IoT market makes manufacturers and product designers desire to present their products to the market quickly. These people disregard security in their devices, even in the planning phase.

A primary issue in IoT security is the use of default or hardcoded passwords because it can result in security breaches, even if users change them. Not providing strong passwords can still lead to infiltration. Moreover, IoT devices have resource constraints and don’t have the necessary compute capabilities to implement robust security. For instance, temperature or humidity sensors can’t handle measures such as advanced encryption. 

Furthermore, IoT devices hardly ever receive patches and updates because, from the viewpoint of the manufacturer, built-in security is costly, limits the functionality, and slows down development. 

Legacy assets can’t take advantage of IoT security, and replacing the infrastructure is expensive, so experts use smart sensors retrofitted on them. However, these assets haven’t been updated and don’t have protection against modern threats. As such, an attack is very feasible.

Many systems offer limited updates, and security can lapse if the organization doesn’t provide additional support. Thus, additional protection can be challenging because various IoT devices remain in the network for extended periods.

Moreover, there are no industry-accepted criteria for IoT safety. Frameworks exist, but industry organizations and large corporations can’t agree on a single structure. Each has its specific standards, while industrial IoT has incompatible and proprietary standards. Thus, the numerous measures make it almost impossible to secure systems and ensure interoperability.

The convergence of operational technology and IT networks create various challenges for security teams. Many of the personnel have the task of ensuring end-to-end security and protecting systems outside of their expertise. The involvement of a learning curve compromises protection as IT personnel must have the appropriate skill sets to handle IoT security.

Organizations must take the necessary steps to seek a shared responsibility for security. Manufacturers, service providers, and end-users must play an important role. Prioritization of privacy and protection of devices, and default authorization and encryption, for instance, must take place. However, end-users must also accept part of the burden to ensure that they take the necessary precautions like changing passwords, using security software, and installing patches as needed.

IoT Security as an Obstacle to Technology Adoption

The security of the Internet of Things is a primary obstacle to successful technology adoption. This observation is correct even when you’re only in the early stages of deployment planning.

We look at three significant angles of this complicated issue, especially when you’re laying out the deployment of IoT sensors in your setup:

  • Software security patches
  • Network
  • Physical device

Software Patches

Some sensors of the Internet of Things have many built-in computing capabilities. Therefore, these devices may not accept remote updates and patches or run a security-software agent. This problem is tremendous and worrisome because of the daily discovery of software vulnerabilities that target IoT. If there’s no capability to patch these loopholes upon detection, you have a pressing issue.

Furthermore, some devices don’t have decent security and aren’t patchable. The only way to solve the dilemma is to search for a different product that does the functional task and provides more protection.

Discovery and Networking

One of the toughest problems to solve is securing the backend and IoT sensors connections. A majority of organizations don’t even know all their devices on their network. Therefore, device discovery is critical for the network security of the Internet of Things.

A primary explanation for the lack of visibility is the operational technology of IoT. The IT staff has no sole administration of network because even line-of-business personnel can connect devices to the system. There is no protocol to inform the tech group in charge of maintaining network security. Network operations people now have an unaccustomed headache because they used to control the topology of the entire network.

Aside from the close cooperation of IT personnel with the operations staff of the business, network scanners can automatically detect devices on the system through techniques such as network traffic analysis, whitelists, and device profiles. These factors ensure proper provisioning and monitoring of device connections on the network.

Physical Access

Frequently, physical access is a significant and straightforward concern for traditional IT security. Data centers have strict security, and switches and routers are in locations where unauthorized people can’t access or fiddle these peripherals discreetly. 

However, for the Internet of Things, well-established security practices aren’t evident. A few IoT implementations are easy to secure. A misfit can’t tinker with state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment in a secured hospital. The hacker can’t fiddle with intricate robotic manufacturing equipment in a limited access factory floor. Compromises can occur, but if a felon is still a threat even in secure locations.

Consequently, equipment around the metropolis, such as smart parking meters, traffic cameras, and noise sensors are easily accessible to the public. Soil sensors in agricultural areas and other technology in a sufficiently remote place aren’t safe either.

Diversified solutions are in place. For instance, enclosures and cases can stop a few attackers, but these things may be impractical in some situations. Video surveillance on these machines can also be a point of the intrusion. Thus, the IoT Security Foundation advocates the disabling of ports on a device. However, this recommendation isn’t necessary in some cases where there is a need for them to perform their functions. Moreover, it recommends implementing tamper-proof circuit boards and embedding these circuits in resin.


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