IoT security: Challenges and tips for securing IoT

IoT security

Internet of Things (IoT) continues to increase across enterprises globally to unlock new business values. According to Gartner, around 6.4 billion connected devices will be used this year increasing to 20 billion by the end of 2020. As more and more organizations are availing the benefits of the Internet of Things to gain a competitive advantage in the market, the Internet of Things will soon reach new heights.

We cannot overlook the security concerns that are rising with the growth of connected devices. If we talk about traditional IT security, securing software is of prime importance. However, in IoT, both hardware and software are to be protected commonly known as a cyber-physical security. To protect IoT solutions, it is necessary to have a secure arrangement of devices, safe and protected connectivity between cloud and devices and secure data security solutions while processing and storage.  However, challenges are part of every game; similarly here as well certain challenges are faced.

Devices: The arrangement and maintaining IoT devices is challenging because of its scale and geographic distribution.  Sometimes, devices are not supervised carefully and are deployed in hostile environments where uncertain operations are very common.

Connectivity: Since a large number of devices are connected to the Internet; it poses threats to the integrity and privacy of data.

Ubiquitous Data Collection: With connected devices, companies are able to track hold of our private activities. It is in the near future, a digital trail of our everyday lives can be grabbed.

Unexpected use of consumer data: This persistent collection of data certainly gives rise to worries about how personal information will be used? This is a very important issue and such questions will become the future of IoT. We cannot continue to walk on the path of data collection without thinking about such concerns and questions.

An overall strategy is required to secure an IoT infrastructure. Securely arranging devices, protecting data integrity and securing data in cloud etc. should be considered which ensures security at each layer of the infrastructure. Let’s look at some of the tips which can help us to stay safe.

Different network for different users

Wi-Fi supports many smart devices today. However, don’t plug in it in your devices like phones or computer every time you require. Make a special guest network for users to keep untrusted visitors away from your regular network.

Turn off Universal Plug and Play (UPnP)

Devices such as video cameras communicate with the router to expose inbound holes which enable them to accept connections from outside. With this, it can easily access the internet, on the other hand, your devices are exposed to the rest of the world. Make sure to switch off the universal plug and play on routers as well as on your IoT devices. Assuming that no one will notice while hooking up your device for the first time can prove dangerous.

Keep your IoT devices firmware updated

Patching IoT devices is also important just like your computer. Make it a habit to keep your devices updated though it can be a time-consuming task, however, it will keep you and your devices safer compared to other devices which are not updated.

Strong Passwords

Many IoT devices have bugs that enable attackers to leak security information like your Wi-Fi passwords. Make sure your passwords are complex as well as unique.

Devices that work without a cloud

IoT devices that are cloud-based are less secure and have the potentials to give away more private information than those devices which are not cloud-based and can be easily controlled entirely within your home. Try to use IoT devices which are not cloud-based as you can easily control them.

Unnecessary Internet Connections

Keep only those network devices which you need. Don’t keep unnecessary connected devices wasting energy and resources. Make sure to eliminate unwanted connections whenever possible.

Don’t connect IoT devices on employer’s network

If your IoT device is insecure, attackers can easily find a loophole and can easily enter the organization. They can steal all the important information. If you want to connect your device on employer’s connection, take permission from the IT department as they are in a better position to tell you about the security of your device.

The above-mentioned steps are just a part of the never-ending list in terms of security. Many more tasks can be performed to make you IoT devices safe and secure. IoT operators should develop best practices to boost security across the globe.

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