Threats Posed by the Internet of Things in Businesses
Risks of using internet of things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly changing the technology landscape as we know it. Businesses worldwide are leveraging IoT for benefits such as seamless collaboration, access to comprehensive data and the ability to make stronger business decisions based on insights derived from substantial data. Experts estimate the total number of installed IoT-connected devices worldwide to amount to 30.9 billion units by 2025. The Internet of Things ecosystem is made up of numerous interconnected devices constructed with unique sensors that collect, share, process, act on and store data. This introduces a growing risk for Internet of Things users since hackers could exploit the vulnerability of a single device in the ecosystem and potentially gain “backdoor” access to your business’ entire network and wreak havoc.
Risk of Security Control
Many Operational Technology (OT) systems lack filtering chokepoints, such as firewalls or router ACLs, which render standard network remediation tactics ineffective when it comes to preventing the spread of malware. In fact, it could trigger critical infrastructure disruptions or failures. Most IoT devices even lack the basic encryption systems to secure data in transit and at rest. In fact, over 95% of all IoT device traffic is unencrypted.
Protection of Sensitive Data
The sensors on IoT devices collect (potentially store and share) copious amounts of sensitive data without your knowledge or explicit consent. For example, an Internet of Things device is capable of collecting data on what you say, do or buy from inside your home or business’ office. One doesn’t need to be an expert to imagine how devastating it would be if any of this data was compromised through industrial espionage or eavesdropping.
Risk in Workplace Security
The rapid surge in the number of IoT devices and applications within the modern-day workspace has posed a multifaceted security challenge for a business’ IT team. Today’s decentralized networks that involve the increased utilization of segmented “home” networks, have added multiple potential attack vectors. The 2021 Data Exposure Report prepared by the Ponemon Institute stated that home networks are 71% less secure than office networks. The more the number of IoT devices used by employees on their home networks, the greater the security risks.
Risk in Regulations
Currently, no regulatory requirements or standards for the manufacturing of IoT devices exist, either globally or industry-specific, with respect to security and data protection controls. This means businesses have been left on their own to mitigate Internet of Things -related risks with little to no guidance.
Vulnerable Default Passwords
Cybercriminals find it easy to exploit hard-coded and embedded credentials to enter a business network. When an entire string of Internet of Things devices share the same credentials (such as username: admin and password: admin), it serves as an open invitation for hackers.