Why are IoT devices vulnerable?

Internet of Things (IoT) devices do everything from streamlining or automating tasks to helping improve usability of an asset to helping organizations automatically track their key performance indicators (KPIs) so they can improve their processes and optimize efficiency. But they also expose businesses to increased cybersecurity risks.  

As the number of connected devices grows, so does the attack surface (i.e., all possible points where a breach could happen).

Examples of Internet of Things devices

IoT devices have become ubiquitous. IDC forecasts that the number of connected devices worldwide will reach 41.6 billion by 2025. Examples include:

  • Security cameras
  • Smart thermostats and building management system (BMS) devices
  • Sensors in security systems
  • Smart TVs
  • Smart factory equipment, such as robotic arms 
  • Scanning devices
  • Autonomous farming equipment
  • Connected traffic management systems
  • Digital assistants

What’s unique about IoT vulnerabilities?

IoT device designs focus on connectivity rather than security. And IoT devices introduce unique asset management and security challenges because these devices are frequently unmanaged

IoT devices are vulnerable because they:

  • Often lack built-in safeguards
  • Don’t produce logs
  • Can’t be easily updated and patched
  • Don’t support the installation of endpoint agents, making them invisible to traditional security tools

IoT security challenges

Traditional monitoring tools are not suitable to secure IoT devices:

  • Scans are disruptive and can lead sensitive devices to crash. For many use cases, including industrial and medical environments, this is a big concern because device malfunction can lead to downtime or life-threatening consequences. 

Traditional network security systems have poor visibility into IoT devices. They cannot see peer-to-peer wireless traffic such as Bluetooth (commonly used by IoT devices). Nor can they see corporate devices connected to rogue networks. They are also unable to track asset behaviors for unusual activity.

How to secure IoT devices?

Here are some key steps for increasing  Internet of Things cybersecurity.

  1. Empower your workforce with security awareness training, and educate your employees about IoT vulnerabilities and basic cyber hygiene measures. 
  2. Get comprehensive asset visibility. Invest in a security platform that works with all devices, from managed computers to unmanaged IoT and OT assets. The Armis platform a cloud-based and agentless device security platform capable of discovering and classifying all devices in your network and air space.
  3. Continuously monitor your network traffic for unusual device and user activity. The Armis platform doesn’t disrupt network performance because it is a passive monitoring solution.
  4. Adopt industry best practices, such as the Zero Trust security framework and network segmentation. Automated remediation and policy enforcements are critical to limit cyber risk exposure. 

Download our Buyer’s Guide to IoT Security to learn how to evaluate cybersecurity vendors. Ensure your cybersecurity platform has all it takes to close any device security blind spots.