IoT vulnerabilities to be aware of

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  • Posted by: Evans Asare
10 IoT vulnerabilities to be aware of

IoT vulnerabilities to be aware of and its protection tips.

IoT devices are particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks because they often lack many of the integrated security features commonly found in traditional networked devices such as computers, smartphones, and tablets. 

What are IoT devices?

Internet of Things (IoT) devices are household electronics that can connect to the internet. IoT devices include smart TVs, smart speakers, activity trackers, connected toys, smart appliances like refrigerators, and “smart home” devices like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home.

Here are some of the main potential IoT security problems:

  • Limited security: Internet connectivity is only part of what makes IoT devices work, and they may not have as much built-in security as computational devices and smartphones.
  • Lack of security awareness amongst users: While just about everyone knows their phone or laptop can be vulnerable to viruses and other malware, some users may be unaware that their IoT devices can also get hack.
  • Limited computational power: Because most IoT devices connect to the internet for a specific purpose, their computing power is usually lower than devices that have full access to the internet.
  • Hardware limitations: This IoT vulnerability is related to computational power limitations. IoT hardware may have limited capacity or may be incompatible with some types of software.
  • Portability: While portability makes many IoT devices such as smart watches convenient to use, it also increases the chances of theft, as well as connecting to an unsafe network.

How IoT vulnerabilities affect users:

Because IoT devices can access your sensitive information including your biometric data, spending habits, bank accounts, and daily routines, IoT vulnerabilities that expose you to  hackers, scammers, or other cybercrooks represent a serious risk to both your digital and physical privacy and security.

Compromised IoT devices may result in the following hacks and exploits:

  • Lateral network movement: Hackers may be able to use a single compromised IoT entry point as a backdoor to access other devices on your home network.
  • Botnets: IoT devices can be use as part of a larger bot network to launch attacks on a bigger target, usually managed from a central server.
  • Unauthorized data access: Hackers may be able to access personal information store on an IoT device, especially if it’s not properly secured.
  • DDoS attacks: If an IoT device stops working as it should and denies you access, it’s most likely a DDoS attack on the network.

How to protect against IoT vulnerabilities:

  1. Use complex passwords, patterns, and PINs: Make sure to use different characters, symbols, and capitalization patterns for each of your online accounts to ensure they’re strong and hard to guess. And as these types of passwords can be hard to remember, consider a password manager that will keep your passwords safe and organized for you.
  2. Enable lock screens: Most IoT devices lock up when not in use and require you to sign in again to access them. To keep your devices protected, enable lock screens so people don’t have direct access to your information. 
  3. Use voice command: Voice command, or voice activation, has become almost standard on new IoT devices. Not only does this make our busy lives easier, but it can also help make device use more secure. Voice-recognition software is often enable to respond only to their owner’s voice. 
  4. Set up two-factor authentication: Enabling two-factor authentication (2FA), or multi-factor authentication, on all your IoT devices adds a second verfication step to the sign-in process. 2FA makes use of another device or feature, such as email or SMS, that you have access to, making it harder for hackers to log in. 
  5. Make patching security issues routine: Set up security features when activating your device. And every so often, consider visiting your device manufacturer’s website to manually search for downloadable security patches that can resolve bugs and security flaws. 
  6. Consider segmenting networks: This can be done by creating a guest network for your more vulnerable IoT devices, such as gaming consoles, smart speakers, and smart TVs. Segmenting your network can prevent compromised devices from gaining access to your primary network, which most likely hosts the information hackers are after.
  7. Be on top of your IoT network security: Regularly check for unapproved devices that have found their way onto your network. Taking the time to vet the network your IoT device is on can lessen the likelihood of your data falling into the wrong hands.
  8. Use antivirus software: Software design to protect against hackers and malware attacks will help keep your smartphone, computer, and tablet safe in the event that IoT devices are used as an entry point for an attack. When searching for antivirus software, look for software that provides comprehensive protection against the array of today’s digital threats.
Author: Evans Asare

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