Contributed by George Mack, Content Marketing Manager, Check Point Software.
Securing the Internet of Things (IoT) is critical, given how commonplace smart devices are in mainstream business use. The total install base of IoT devices is projected to grow to 30.9 billion units by 2025, up from 12.2 billion units today – which means that the attack surface will only continue to expand.
Unfortunately, many IoT devices are inherently vulnerable and lack the necessary built-in security controls to defend against cyber threats.
The challenges of securing IoT devices
Most IoT devices have no built-in security, weak default passwords, are difficult to patch, and run on legacy operating systems. On top of that, when you connect an IoT device, it expands your attack surface – as it can be accessed from anywhere remotely, including offices, data centers, the cloud, by remote users, service providers, vendors, and via corporate networks.
The IoT environment itself presents another challenge. Your IT team is forced to deal with a wide variety of IoT device types and proprietary IoT device protocols. And many of these IoT devices are unmanaged and invisible. In some instances, enterprises may not even believe they have IoT devices that are connected and communicating with their network.
Further, IoT devices open your organization up to botnets, DDoS attacks, crypto miners, ransomware, phishing, and lateral movement into other network elements.
In the next section, we’ll explore a couple of case studies that show what happens when you don’t properly secure your IoT devices.
Two case studies of IoT security breaches
In one instance, a computer hacker gained access to the water system of a city in Florida and tried to pump in a “dangerous” amount of sodium hydroxide, a potentially lethal chemical, officials say.
After the hacker briefly increased the amount of sodium hydroxide (lye) in Oldsmar’s water treatment system, a worker spotted it and reversed the action. This is an example of how an IoT security breach can literally destroy lives, disrupt our social fabric, and threaten our democracy as a whole.
In a second case, a group of hackers breached a massive trove of security-camera data collected by a Silicon Valley start-up, gaining access to live feeds of 150,000 surveillance cameras inside hospitals, companies, police departments, prisons and schools.
The hackers were able to view video from inside of health clinics, psychiatric hospitals and the offices of the startup itself. Some of the cameras, including in hospitals, use facial-recognition technology to identify and categorize people captured on the footage. The hackers also had access to the full video archive of all of the startup’s customers, potentially exposing footage of patients, students, and employees.
After reading about the challenges of IoT security above, and what happens when you don’t properly secure your devices, it’s clear that IoT security must be prioritized.
However, traditional security is no longer enough. The old model of detecting threats after they’ve breached your network will simply allow threat actors to wreak havoc – and then it’s too late. IoT attacks need prevention, not just detection.
This is the best solution to securing your IoT device
Quantum IoT Protect is the best current solution on the marketplace, and it has three benefits, which put it head and shoulders above the competition.
First, it provides autonomous protection. It autonomously maps, profiles, and protects devices with zero-trust profiles. There’s no need to manually identify every IoT device on your entire network when IoT Protect does it for you. You also gain access to granular identity details for every connected device.
Second, it prevents network IoT attacks by blocking zero-day attacks with real-time IoT intelligence. It also creates perfectly suited policies with the industry’s broadest application controls – allowing you to control over 1,600 IoT & OT applications, protocols, and commands. Everything is covered – from IP cameras to medical devices. You can also save time and effort with an automated IoT policy builder and automatically apply a whitelist policy.
Third, it comes equipped with preemptive on-device threat prevention. IoT Protect hardens device firmware to prevent zero-day runtime attacks and patches your devices from known exploits. It also uses on-device nano agents to make every IoT device safe to use, and it achieves this by analyzing device firmware, automatically generating a tailored nano agent, and then implementing on-device runtime protection.
In addition, and to summarize, Quantum IoT Protect provides the following benefits:
- Automates everything from discovery to threat prevention
- Multi-layered cyber defense solution to protect IoT devices
- Best threat prevention against the latest and most evasive IoT cyber attacks
- Choice of SMB/branch, enterprise-scale, and ruggedized security gateways
- Prevention of malicious IoT traffic with 1,000s of protections, over 60 security services, and real-time threat intelligence
The Internet of Things (IoT) is here to stay and will continue to proliferate everywhere. However, hackers know that these devices present an entry point to steal information and perform further attacks on your network. Case studies discussed earlier in this article show that the consequences can be absolutely devastating.
Organizations must understand that the IoT is an active and developing field; therefore, their security will have to keep up and adapt with the latest changes. Fortunately, there are solutions on the marketplace that can provide robust security while giving you – and your leadership – peace of mind.
For more information on how you can secure your company’s IoT devices, visit Check Point Quantum IoT Protect. Lastly, get best-in-class interviews, real-world reports and so much more delivered to your inbox each week – subscribe to the CyberTalk.org newsletter.