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Vulnerabilities Can Be Abundant in IoT, Secure Properly

5 minute read

When it comes to the IoT technology stack, it’s imperative that each layer is properly secured, because if not, it leaves open a window to a security breach. Security by design is a hot topic in the IoT space, and for good reason. It’s very important when deploying an IoT solution to do exactly that – secure the solution during the design phase as it’s far easier to do than afterwards. We delve more into this topic in"A Guide to Security by Design for the Internet of Things"” looking at implementing security by design from concept stage to management.

Once an IoT system is up and running, the solution must continue to be monitored for security issues. Security monitoring, when properly implemented, can prevent costly breaches, failures, and excessive data use. Implementing a system to address the following target areas can help keep your IoT solution running smoothly and securely.

Firmware and Application Misconfiguration

Operating systems used to be the go-to attack target for cyber criminals, as it was the most low-hanging fruit. But since operating systems are now much more secure and difficult to compromise, attackers have shifted focus to firmware, which in many cases now acts as the operating system. Firmware can be attacked through hardware, a system, or over the network. And once firmware is attacked, a hacker can continue to infiltrate by compromising additional firmware components, capturing privileged information, impacting performance, or disabling a device – depending on the use case.

Application misconfigurations also lend themselves to security breaches, whether by accident or through OEM code layering. By scanning through system registers, hackers can easily find what’s been misconfigured, such as default passwords and open ports, and it thus becomes a threat.

A system that can monitors destination IP, protocol, and change rules can help solve the problem of firmware and application misconfiguration, which helps harden the security in those areas.

Stolen SIM

Devices that transmit data through a cellular network require a SIM. IoT devices in particular leverage SIM in Connected Health, Industrial IoT, Fleet Telematics, and more, as IoT devices tend move around and leveraging cellular a mobile wireless network is born out of necessary.

Since stolen SIMs can be catastrophic in the IoT ecosystem, the proper security requirements should be set in place to avoid physical theft of the SIM. IMEI change detection helps map SIMs to specific devices and detects when a SIM is being used in a new device. Using a platform that offers IMEI change detection is an excellent way to track SIMs and secure your IoT devices.

Excessive Data Use

It’s important first to understand the amount of data being used by your IoT devices. Creating a baseline helps you understand when data use becomes excessive. If a device is haemorrhaging data, it often points to either foul play or some other type of device malfunction. Not only could it be a threat to device and network security, it can also be quite costly – especially if it’s happening in a diverse ecosystem comprised of many IoT devices.

Utilising a platform that offers a burst detection rule can identify when devices are excessively using data, and gives the high visibility needed when using IoT solutions.

Other considerations in IoT security

Network or device failure: Network or device failure can cause a shuddering halt to operations when leveraging IoT solutions. Through the use of traffic visibility and actionable data in the form of traffic reports, device or network failure can be avoided which will lead to less operational disruptions and points of entry for security breaches.

Lack of visibility for device communications: How devices communicate is one of the cornerstones of IoT. Not only how, but the frequency, the mode of communication, and what is being communicated. It’s paramount to understand and monitor device communication and a lack of visibility here can be a pitfall. However, using traffic visibility and actionable data in the form of traffic analyser logs and reports, these communications can be monitored closely. It also helpful to have real-time visibility of the device behaviour by monitoring data traffic meta data such as Netflow.

KORE Understands the High Value IoT Security

As the leading global IoT provider, KORE knows how important it is to leverage solutions that are secure in design, implementation, and management. Learn more about how KORE protects devices and data to help secure your IoT ecosystem.

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