The internet has taken the front seat in our fast-paced life. Do you remember the time when you had to visit a cyber cafe to check your emails or maybe just your social media accounts? I certainly remember those days!
Today, we enjoy near-universal access to the internet. It’s become a central part of every professional’s life, with much of their work happening online. Employees have to depend on a large network of interconnected, synced devices to be effective.
But new research suggests many of these devices often pose security threats to individuals & organizations because of poorly implemented security measures.
IoT & its Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities
Now let’s look at what this buzzword “Internet of Things” actually is. The Internet of Things is a network of physical objects accessed through the internet that are inter-connected using embedded technology and can exchange data among themselves. Each object can represent itself and can interact with other objects by the extensive exchange of data.
The number of IoT devices being introduced is increasing rapidly and, as was to be expected, this is taking a toll on the cybersecurity environment. To plug loopholes and address vulnerabilities as they arise, cyber-sec experts have to continually devise and implement updates & innovations for their security frameworks.
This complex scenario is made worse by a rapid rise in the use of modern Cloud platforms & tools, turning cybersecurity into a nightmare.
In a nutshell: With the rise of IoT and IoT-enabled devices, cybersecurity experts worldwide have woken up to the need for closer monitoring of threats.
In this article, I am going to delve into 4 practices that can help you strengthen your cybersecurity framework if you use or plan on using IoT devices –
1. Refrain from Connecting Smart IoT Devices Randomly- The age we live in, we are used to connecting smart devices to the Internet to help make our day-to-day work-life less tiring and increase productivity. These devices are Wi-Fi or Bluetooth enabled and connect immediately. One such device is used extensively is Amazon Echos which is designed to listen and transmit information. They are being used by corporate individuals who have increased productivity in mind but at the same time, they do not possess adequate security knowledge or expertise. While these devices help to increase productivity, they also possess unidentifiable risks. They are manufactured with little security and regulatory control keeping the user-friendly attribute in mind. At the end of the day, these are capable of leaking confidential information and pose a huge threat to cybersecurity.
- Proper Security and Awareness Training- With the increase in threat to cyber security there needs to be a proper security training structure in place. The use of online technology platforms such as clouds provide IT professionals a huge advantage to work effectively and conveniently but at the same time pose an imminent threat to information leaks and confidentiality.
Even though human expertise cannot wipe out these threats completely, basic security training and awareness among the users can help minimize the risks and potential threats to information security. Hence, a basic security and awareness program should be mandated for all users to make them aware of the technologies they are working with and the potential consequences of a lapse in security on their part. This may include even a simple click on suspicious links on their platforms that can download malicious software and expose confidential information among other risks.
- Reducing the Reliance on Humans for Security- Even though human security training is necessary, we have to accept the fact that humans cannot by themselves take care of cybersecurity. In fact, humans are much more susceptible to the threats posed by these devices. It is therefore important that we focus on more intelligent automated technologies to improve our cybersecurity.
Threats due to IoT is a device and system interaction problem and hence it would be sensible to relieve humans of the burden. IoT devices are interconnected and hence they are capable of interchanging and gathering information and malware from other devices. Advanced automated technologies need to be in place to counter these threats. Phishing is a major threat posed by these devices as automated phishing emails and external links still lure employees into it and are capable of causing adverse potential damage. A major problem caused by these is that they are encountered at a quicker rate than they are addressed.
- Presence of an Intelligent Cybersecurity System- From what I have discussed so far, the need for an intelligent cybersecurity system seems imperative. In today’s world, systems must be capable of working effectively without human intervention. They must be so programmed that they can be proactive and take security measure whenever required. For that to happen, they need to learn behavior and signal patterns and be able to distinguish between secure and insecure activities. Once they have identified the potential threat and vulnerabilities from a suspected device they can immediately stop that device from spreading malicious content. This would enable the security systems in place to identify the suspicious devices and protect the system from getting infected.
Looking for the Internet of Things training to equip yourself with the skills you need to succeed in the digital age? Check out our range of IoT courses for individuals & enterprises.