Are Your Mobile and IoT Devices Weakening Your Security?
With over 14 billion connected mobile devices today, the Internet of Things (IoT) has become mainstream.
Unfortunately, the number of connected devices continues to increase exponentially, and most of these devices run on outdated software. This means they are vulnerable to cyberattacks.
IoT devices include more than just mobile devices, such as smart home appliances, medical equipment, and industrial machinery. Many companies now use them to monitor their employees, track inventory, and even provide remote assistance.
Today, almost every device in our homes and offices runs on some form of operating system. These systems are often insecure, and hackers constantly look for ways to exploit vulnerabilities to gain access to sensitive data.
Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are great for productivity, but they also pose a threat to enterprise IT security. Many organizations use these devices to access confidential data from company networks, which could be used against them.
In addition, the rise of IoT has increased the risk of cyberattacks on businesses since hackers can compromise connected devices. So now, let’s check out the common vulnerabilities so you can learn how to better secure your devices.
5 Common Mobile & IoT Device Vulnerabilities
1. Weak Passwords
Today, a common but easily fixed vulnerability in IoT systems stems from weak or unchanged default passwords. Attackers typically exploit weak or hardcoded passwords to gain access to IoT devices.
These credentials are often stored unencrypted in databases, making it easy for hackers to steal them. Once they have compromised a device, attackers can easily move across networks, gaining control of additional devices and systems.
In addition to weak or hardcoded passwords, many IoT devices are configured to accept default usernames and passwords, making them even more accessible for attackers to compromise.
As a result, attackers can connect to the device via Wi-Fi or Ethernet cable and then log in with the username and password associated with the device.
2. Unsecured Network Services
The IoT is a growing trend among businesses and consumers. However, there are risks involved with deploying IoT solutions. One risk is unsecured networks.
If these networks have unsecured Wi-Fi, they can allow hackers to access information that could compromise the security of customer or employee data.
Hackers can even pose as trusted entities to trick customers into providing login credentials. This makes it easier for malicious actors to gain unauthorized access to personal information and systems.
This is a rising threat as more employees telework from places with unsecured Wi-Fi or work from home.
3. Lack of Physical Hardening
Due to the omnipresence of IoT computing, devices are often left virtually out in the open, where they are subject to attack.
As a result, these devices may be susceptible to malware, hacking, and denial of service attacks without proper security measures, such as regular updates, patches, and proper security monitoring.
In particular, IoT devices are particularly vulnerable because they lack the needed security features to combat threats. Unfortunately, many IoT devices operate without human supervision, making it easier for attackers to tamper with or hack into them.
4. Insecure Data Transfer and Storage
Data transmitted by and in between IoT devices must be secure and protected against unauthorized access. It’s essential for the integrity and reliability of any IoT application.
Therefore, we recommend implementing robust encryption protocols to protect data while it is transmitted and stored.
Businesses should implement these protocols locally and remotely, ensuring no single point of failure exists. It’s crucial to ensure that sensitive data is protected and kept safe.
5. Poor Device Management
Poor IoT device management means a company fails to adequately secure and protect its connected devices. This could lead to data breaches, loss of productivity, and other security risks.
The best way to avoid poor IoT device management is through proper planning and implementation. Failure to manage devices properly throughout their lifetime leaves them vulnerable to attack, even if they’re not in active use.
In addition, businesses must understand which assets or devices connect to their network and how to secure them.
Many IoT systems do not offer easy access to privacy policies. Often, these policies are included separately from the device manuals.
As a result, users can usually only access them after opening and installing the device, or there might be a notice somewhere in their documentation directing the user to go to the company’s website.
Unfortunately, some IoT service providers’ privacy policies are difficult to understand, and they’re unclear about what data they collect and how they use it, leading to increased risks.
How to Strengthen Mobile and IoT Device Security
As you can see, creating a security strategy for your IoT and mobile devices is highly important. Organizations can protect themselves against IoT vulnerability by following best practices that help prevent data loss and theft.
For example, organizations can implement stronger passwords, enable two-factor authentication, restrict network access, perform regular updates, create threat monitoring practices and incorporate secure device management software.
While organizations can take steps to secure IoT devices, the more significant challenge lies in preventing attacks before they occur.
In addition to implementing strong passwords and encryption, organizations must take into account the broader risks associated with IoT devices, such as cybercrime, privacy violations, data breaches, and regulatory compliance.
Sometimes the best policy is to outsource detection and response operations to a reliable provider.
If you have any device connected to the internet, you should take steps to secure it. Your company’s network may already be vulnerable, but even if it isn’t, you still need to set up policies and procedures to protect it against potential threats.
Be sure to check out our comprehensive services as a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) to secure your network and IoT devices so that you can ensure you can keep your business and data safe.