The Internet of Things (IoT) means that everyday objects are connecting to the internet. Smart devices are everywhere. Items such as air conditioning units, light switches and fridges can now be connected to the Internet. Today, we have approximately 15 billion IoT devices. By 2020, it’s estimated that there will likely be 40 to 50 billion devices connected to the internet. As more and more connected devices are creeping into the workplace, it is important that companies are aware of the weak points to the technology, as well as its strengths.
IoT – what could go wrong?
So you’re connected to the internet via one of many devices – what could go possibly wrong? Hacking!
Although industries such as healthcare, transportation, manufacturing and government are benefitting greatly from the technology, it’s important to be aware that this technology is not exempt from cybercrime. It’s quite simple, as technology evolves and becomes smarter, so do cybercriminals.
As Tech Radar explains “Any internet-enabled device is potentially vulnerable to attack from hackers – so imagine the risks when virtually every object and appliance we use is connected.”
Malware such as Mirai and Brickerbot are popular among hackers targeting IoT devices with DDoS attacks. Mirai targets networked devices running Linux and turns them into ‘bots’ which can be remotely controlled. This allows them to take part in large-scale network attacks which can be damaging.
Claritas’ Managing Director, Glenn Scaife explains:
There is a distinct risk that hackers could access connected or “smart” devices for malicious purposes. Whilst undoubtedly the Internet of Things will make our lives more efficient, it is early days as yet, so the security of connected appliances is dubious. Effectively, anything with an IP address, which includes smart devices, is potentially vulnerable to hacking.
It’s not just the possibility of a data leak, which itself is a major cause for concern but, more alarmingly, there is the risk of more serious threats. There is a risk of devices being hacked and fitted with spyware. Hackers could also tamper with controls and devices which could have costly and potentially dangerous consequences.
What to do?
There are measures you can take to reduce the risk of an attack.
Glenn Scaife, Claritas MD:
There are many positives to IoT, however, businesses need to take precautions when purchasing smart devices: ensure security features are enabled, secure passwords are used and regular updates are carried out. And, without doubt, the best way to protect yourself from hacking at the office is to have a fully configured office firewall rather than depending on the default security provided by ISPs.
Top security tip: Segment your devices – any device that has to be internet accessible should be segmented into its own network with access to said network restricted. This should then be monitored for any unusual traffic – a clear indicator of a problem.
If you’re a business and are worried about your IoT devices turning against you at the hands of hackers, you should seek advice. At Claritas this is something we specialise in so why not get in touch?
Secure IoT is something we should strive for
Despite security warnings, we feel people should celebrate IoT technology. The sky really is the limit for secure, safe IoT devices and the ways in which they could help and enhance people’s lives. Connected devices have the potential to revolutionise many industries and as technology improves we’d expect security to improve with it.
Undoubtedly there are going to be bumps along the way which is why it could be beneficial for your company to work with professionals.
We’re specialists with over 20 years’ experience. It may be worth a call to see how we could help?
To keep up with our updates on I.T. and tech news, follow us through our social media channels.