Emerging Technology

Security Risks With IoT Devices!

By TechDogs

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What’s the coolest three-letter buzzword in the technology industry right now? No, it’s not NFT or LTE or even BTC! It’s IoT – or the Internet of Things for the tech purists. This emerging technology is what enables our intelligent devices to share real-time data and communicate with one another to make our life oh-so easy. From targeted advertising campaigns to getting insights about the customer journey; from real-time patient throughput metrics to embedded sensors and RFID tags, IoT comes in all shapes and sizes.  

We expect these shapes and sizes to evolve even further, giving rise to IoT concepts that we cannot yet imagine. However, before we start dreaming of futuristic devices that would put The Men In Black to shame, there’s a grave issue that needs to be addressed – the security risks associated with IoT devices.  

Every business that invests in IoT (and let’s be honest – it’s almost all of them) needs to be aware of the potential pitfalls that accompany IoT devices and take steps to ensure that their devices are secured. Hence, we have covered some of the top IoT Device Security Risks every business needs to know about – don’t wait, read on!
TechDogs-"Security Risks With IoT Devices!"- Risks With IoT Devices Explained
What's common between an avocado and the Internet? Not much, apart from the fact that everybody loves it! So much so that we add it to everything - from our toast to toaster. If you just scratched your head, wondering if we have gone mad, allow us to clarify - the avocado on the toast and Internet to the toaster. That's right; we are talking about adding the Internet to Things, i.e., Internet of Things! 

Jokes apart, the latest technological marvel of the Internet of Things, or IoT as the cool kids say it, has powered past its 'hype' label and officially entered the mainstream. IoT is no longer just a buzzword; IoT is successfully guiding us into a new era of connectivity, convenience and intelligent insights. From smart coffee machines and fire alarms to devices that let you know when you're running low on wine - Internet-enabled devices are the new normal.

Not just wine connoisseurs and tech geeks, businesses are also jumping on board the IoT bandwagon to transform their business, cultivate new revenue streams, improve customer experiences and drive innovation. As connectivity becomes less expensive, the days of companies connecting the latest gadgets and even outmoded legacy devices to capitalize on IoT insights are not far.

However, even as our world evolves and becomes more intricately connected, baddies will never stop uncovering vulnerabilities and deviously work to take advantage of them. A smart home camera can be used for security but it can also be used by nefarious hackers to invade your privacy and spy on you. Can you imagine a cyberpunk spying on you while you are sitting in your jammies, shirtless, binge-watching SNL, covered in crumbs, with leftover day-old takeaway!

Since the IoT industry is still evolving, there is a lack of well-defined best practices and guidelines for securing IoT devices and connected products. Hence, defining the right approach to IoT security often seems overwhelming. In addition, IoT security can't be a one-time checklist — it's a process that requires ongoing consideration. Anyone up for establishing a new line of talent whose job it would be to define IoT security guidelines, the Martha Stewart way (a Dummies' guideline with pictures and arrows)? 

Join us as we take a closer look into some of the more common IoT security risks that all businesses face.

Risk No. 1 – Hacking Your IoT Devices For Malicious Intents

TechDogs-"Risk No. 1 – Hacking Your IoT Devices For Malicious Intents"- A Meme About IoT Security Risks
If you say that there are too many or too few Fast and Furious movies out there - depending on which side of the fan-following table you are sitting at - we can say one thing with absolute certainty: The Fast and Furious movies, like IoT device hacking, aren't going anywhere anytime soon. There is always 'one last ride.'

Most malicious intents start with devices being hacked, which then cause problems too numerous to list down.

In the "Fate of The Furious," the cyber-terrorist named Cipher hacks over a thousand cars remotely and villainously sends them crashing onto a politician's motorcade. Unrealistic? Don't be so sure.
The most common way for hackers to take control of your devices is by forcing them to run malicious applications and by accessing unapproved IP addresses.

Most unfortunately, hacked IoT devices can have serious real-world ramifications. That’s a scary thought, we know!

Risk No. 2 – Data Pollution Can Undermine Insights From IoT Device Data

TechDogs-"Risk No. 2 – Data Pollution Can Undermine Insights From IoT Device Data"- A Meme About Data Pollution In IoT Devices
Data theft is a prevalent concern for enterprises globally; however, did you know there's something equally detrimental, if not worse, hiding in plain sight? No build-up here! The answer is Data Pollution.

What on earth is Data Pollution? Does it mean now data packets will be flowing downstream in the Mississippi and scaring off the bluegill and the crappies? Of course not - the practice of injecting false data into actual data is known as data pollution. While inaccurate telemetry data may not seem harmful at first, trust us, data pollution can cause just as much damage to an enterprise as data theft. 

Think of Christopher Nolan's Inception. Our perfidious protagonist, Dominick Cobb, infiltrated his target's dreams to steal valuable corporate information, often without their knowledge - that's data theft. He goes on to be tasked with performing the exact opposite action - implanting an unauthentic, fabricated idea in the target's dream; now that’s data pollution. It nearly cost him his life and he still went ahead with it. Just goes to show how dedicated competitors can be when it comes to data pollution!

Risk No. 3 – Holding IoT Devices Ransom

TechDogs-"Risk No. 3 – Holding IoT Devices Ransom"-  A James Bond Meme About IoT Security Risks
Tell us if you have heard this one before? A hacker illegally gains access to a server, finds incriminating information and makes a deal not to disclose it in exchange for millions of dollars! Pretty sure we just described one of the most cliched plotlines in modern cinema.

Let's take an example from the pages of our favorite secret agent – 007. In the movie Skyfall, British Secret Intelligence Service - MI6 faces a crisis when Raoul Silva, the former MI6 operative turned cyber-terrorist, decrypts a stolen hard drive containing the identities of every NATO agent currently in the field. He then posts videos online, revealing the undercover agents' identities, threatening to post more every week till M resigns. Even James Bond was helpless in that situation!

However, coming from the reel to real, most virtual kidnappers either enjoy toying with you, allowing you partial access or taking complete control of your device, giving you absolutely no access to it. The technical jargon for this is bricking or PDoS (Permanent Denial of Service). To do this they have to literally take control of the heart (all central components) of the IoT device.

Then at their leisure, they continue toying with you until they either wipe your system or make you pay a hefty ransom to give you back your life and business. Some cold-blooded hackers may go the extra mile by simply stealing your data and then selling it to the highest bidder.

Sadistic virtual kidnappers are a genuine part of our IoT world!


Now that we understand a little more about what are the IoT security risks out there let's read further on what our Tech experts have to offer to manage these risks and outsmart the cyberpunks out there.

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