Even Smart Devices Need Security

Written by CISOSHARE

November 13, 2017

25 min read

We live in an age of “smart” everything, from smartphones to smart televisions. Even our alarm systems and printers are connected to the Internet, remotely accessible with just the touch of a few buttons.

This added convenience creates added security risks, as Sony discovered when hackers found a way into their smart TVs in 2016. In fact, everything from refrigerators and even baby monitors have been discovered on botnets – networks of devices that have been remotely hacked unbeknownst to their owners.

Because of this, it’s essential to create a comprehensive security program for all IoT devices in your organization.

Where do security experts start when it comes to buttoning up your IoT network? After gaining an understanding of your organization’s business environment and its goals, they’ll begin to conduct a step-by-step system analysis.

Looking at the Big Picture with a System Inventory

The first step in developing a security program for IoT is understanding what is automated and connected to the Internet within an organization. This could include everything from televisions, printers, and telephone systems to lighting, HVAC systems, and even doors within the building itself.

Why do these items pose a risk? Many of the products are sold with outdated, unpatched operating systems that are prone to attack. In addition to this, many users fail to change the default passwords on devices or choose new passwords that are weak, leaving them vulnerable.

What’s At Risk? Conducting a Risk Analysis

Once a thorough inventory has been conducted, it’s important to identify any current weak spots in order to architect a successful solution. What kind of information could be put at risk? IoT devices could provide access to restricted areas of your organization that are controlled by employee access codes or badges. They could initiate recordings of conversations, and provide access to printers or even to websites and entire networks.

Sometimes the risks aren’t immediately apparent because an old system has been upgraded into the digital age. No one would have imagined that PBX telephone systems could be a security risk – and they weren’t until organizations began installing modems on them and connecting them to the Internet.

Building a Strong IoT Security Architecture

Once security experts understand how many IoT devices are functioning within your organization and are able to map out the network and potential risks, the next step is to strengthen the structure with a revamped security plan.

The security architecture will include applying security controls such as encryption, which will help maintain data integrity within the organization. Another key strategy is to segment each Internet-capable IoT device into its own network, as well as restricting access to that network. Should a hack occur, these security measures keep the devices separate from each other as well as the network as a whole.

If hackers succeed in breaking in, each device should be capable of communicating an immediate warning of the breach. Finally – and where many organizations fall short – the security standards for IoT devices and any protocols used to connect to them should meet the standards and best practices that are in place for the rest of the organization’s systems.

Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of potential IoT hacks? CISOSHARE can help! Contact us so our team can get started with a detailed system analysis to ensure your organization and its IoT devices are safe and secure.

IoT Security Plan Checklist

IoT security sounds complex, but it doesn’t have to be. Download your free copy of IoT Security Plan checklist.

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