6 Tips For Securing IoT Devices
With more devices entering our homes and workplaces, implementing and updating security measures should be a top priority for the coming years in IoT.
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When discussing the current state of play for the Internet of Things (IoT), a quote comes to mind: With great power comes great responsibility. Cybersecurity becomes even more critical as more devices enter our homes and workplaces and send and receive sensitive data.
For example, in 2021, globally-connected devices grew by 9% to 12.3 billion. This accelerated growth and rapid adoption of connected devices have security experts worried. About 1.5 billion cyberattacks on IoT devices occur annually. In an ecosystem with many connected devices, infiltrating one of them puts the whole network at risk.
Therefore, implementing and updating security measures should be a top priority in the coming years. As such, let’s look at six tips for securing IoT devices.
1. Implement Better Password Practices
Sometimes the most straightforward methods are the most effective. For example, brute force methods are surprisingly effective for hackers. Brute force is an attack method that automatically tries to get the correct password by trying numerous times until it gets it right.
Thankfully, applying good password practices throughout the project can help solve this issue. Apply techniques such as:
Change default passwords as soon as the object is booted up for the first time
Do not use easily guessable passwords like “12345”, a birthday, a name, “admin,” “password,” etc.
Incorporate combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols into each of your passwords
Do not use the same password for every device or even multiple devices
Use a password manager
Instead of using a password, utilize Public Key Cryptography
2. Use a VPN to Encrypt Data When Connected to the Internet
Unfortunately, data interception is a risk whenever sending information over the internet. Therefore, using a VPN with encryption can make your data more secure.
Encrypting data means taking the plaintext and converting it into a ciphertext, usually by a randomly generated key. First, the information gets encrypted from one end; then it gets sent over the internet, and, finally, it gets deciphered on the other end.
This means that even if a hacker accessed your information, it would be impossible to understand, making encryption an excellent tool for guaranteeing the integrity and secrecy of your data.
Using a virtual private network (VPN) can change your internet protocol (IP) address. A VPN is created when a point-to-point connection is established with tunneling protocols. This means that your project’s IP address – the number that identifies any device’s place in a network – can change to reflect the new one used with the VPN.
3. Prepare for Scalability and Future Commissioning
Introducing new devices to an already existing IoT project can leave some unexpected vulnerabilities, and this is why you should prepare for the project’s growth from the very beginning.
When introducing new devices to an existing project, it will be seen by any nearby networks. Suppose you do not take security and privacy in IoT measures seriously and add them to the project. In that case, hackers can use the new vulnerabilities as a gateway to access your entire project.
Apply strategies that guarantee that you are not leaving any open ports or that the connection remains public for an extended period. Another way to effectively scale up your IoT project is by using a decentralized IoT Application Enablement Platform (AEP). A decentralized AEP solution allows you to scale up to be more accessible by reducing security risks and having minimal effect on communication speed – no matter how big you get.
4. Switch to a Decentralized IoT Platform
Another critical security measure you can take is to use a decentralized IoT platform instead of an IoT cloud platform. Using a cloud platform puts data at risk by sending it through the internet to an external database that can be intercepted or breached, and this could be totally out of your control. And all of this happens while also compromising aspects like latency by making it higher.
A decentralized AEP utilizes peer-to-peer (P2P) technology for communication between devices. Data is not stored in the cloud with P2P technology but instead on the IoT device itself. And communication happens directly, which minimizes latency.
This method ensures security by giving users complete control over the data residing on the network, and with encryption, all risk of data interception is significantly reduced.
5. Segment Your Project
Segmentation refers to the act of splitting your network into multiple subnetworks. This process can boost performance and make your project more secure.
This is done so that if a hacker gets access to one subnetwork of your project, the other subnetworks are still left inaccessible. This can also help shut down only the compromised subnetwork and have the rest of the project working as expected.
6. Remember to Update
Last but not least, remember to be aware of any updates that might come out for all your IoT devices. Updates from the manufacturers usually fix bugs and improve the security of your devices by patching out newly discovered vulnerabilities.
While it’s true that an update can add new, unexpected security vulnerabilities, usually manufacturers fix these issues before hackers can pounce, so it’s a good idea to update in any case.
There’s No Time Like Now to Strengthen Security
With the widespread adoption of IoT-based devices, growing public awareness of cybersecurity concerns, and new regulations on the horizon, businesses worldwide are re-evaluating their security strategies to defend their devices and digital assets.
Following the above tips can help you have a more secure project for the future, but remember that security and attacks are ever-evolving. Therefore, it’s essential to be up to date with new developments and regularly update security measures.
The data security of users depends on it.
Published at DZone with permission of Carsten Rhod Gregersen. See the original article here.
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