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Security problems commonly associated with the IoT devices

Updated Mon, January 30, 2023 1:20 EST

Internet of Things or IoT is rapidly changing the way the whole world is currently operating. There are now billions of connected devices across the globe. It has led to a range of innovations in this sphere. It is believed that at the present moment, there are more than 30 billion devices connected to the internet for availing a wide range of services and functionalities. Smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers, and a host of other smart devices are used extensively in numerous homes, offices, hospitals, factories, and other entities. These devices share and exchange a wide range of data and information. Hence, it has made it essential for companies to implement extensive security features. Companies often face a serious challenge even when trying to secure only a single device. With so many connected devices, the challenges naturally rise exponentially. 

Due to this reason, there is now an increased need for securing connected devices. Companies must work with robust techniques to detect and prevent data breaches so that all end-users benefit from them. Therefore, companies should be well aware of the possible security breaches and issues they may face when dealing with connected devices. 

Here is a look at some of the most common issues organizations face when looking to benefit from the Internet of Things. 

Incorrect access control

The services and features the IoT device offer are accessible to the owner and people within its immediate environment. The problem is that it is frequently enforced insufficiently by the device’s security features. The IoT devices often have great reliance on the local network. Therefore, they may not use any additional authentication protocol. The other devices connected to that same network are also trusted. Such blind trust can be a source of a problem any time the device stays connected to the internet. It can now give open access to anyone who can access the features of the device. 

One of the primary issues with these devices is that they are protected with the same default password. The default settings are always the same for the same kind of devices. When passwords are not changed for a long time by users, they eventually become vulnerable to external threats and can be breached by attackers. The IoT devices usually have one single account and/or a privilege level, and they are exposed internally and to the user. Thus, there is no additional access control when someone tries to access it illegally. The single layer of protection is often insufficient to offer protection against several types of vulnerabilities.    

Outdated software

Once the vulnerabilities in the software systems are detected, the updated software system should be evenly distributed to offer protection against possible vulnerabilities. The IoT devices should have the best-updated software systems without any weaknesses. The software components must have proper update features so that weaknesses can get patched once deployed. 

Substantially large attack surfaces

Every connection to the IoT system brings with it a fresh range of opportunities that can be exploited by an attacker when they try to take advantage of the vulnerabilities. As the device connected to the internet offer more services, it can lead to potential dangers. It is referred to as an attack surface. It is crucial to reduce the attack surface to secure the whole system. The device can have multiple open ports with functions and services not essential for the operation.

It is possible to prevent attacks on the service by hindering its exposure. There are many services like SSH and telnet that may be important for development they do not do serve any function during production. 

Application vulnerabilities

One of the significant steps to ensure IoT devices remain secure is to acknowledge that the software may have certain vulnerabilities. Software bugs can trigger functionalities within the devices that they were not originally designed and developed for. The attacker may run their code in the device and access sensitive information. The attacker can access systems and devices connected to the primary system. It is important to note that software bugs and critical security issues are complicated to detect and avoid while creating software. Nevertheless, there can be ways to avoid these issues and the possibility of additional difficulties. It is also possible to avoid application vulnerabilities with steps like performing input validation consistently. 

Vendor security posture

If security vulnerabilities are detected with the IoT devices, the overall impact of such problems will be determined by the vendor’s reaction. The vendor must obtain necessary inputs on the potential issues to create a plan of mitigating them and update the devices used actively. The security posture adopted by the vendor is going to be determined by the fact whether it has a process implemented to handle the security issues effectively. Consumers typically perceive vendor security posture and practices as improved communication and interaction with the vendor regarding security. If the vendor does not offer instructions and information regarding the way it will act while dealing with a security issue, the vendor is not going to mitigate the security problem. 

It means that the end-users will not have any knowledge of the security issues and keep on using the devices as if nothing is wrong with them. It will lead to an insecure working environment. The vendors should inform the customers about the device security updates and the way they should use them so that their sensitive information is not compromised. 

By keeping track of the possible security issues with the IoT devices described above, users can stay safe while using them. You can learn more about the issues affecting IoT devices by clicking here.