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IoT is developing at a speed we first thought was unimaginable. It’s getting to the stage where we now expect that devices will easily connect to the Internet so we can share data, make vast business improvements, and just do our everyday tasks in an efficient manner.
“Just Google it,” might well be a thing of the past, as we now move to say “Just check the device data,” instead. These vast advancements are thrilling and pave the way for new business models, but with any quickly developing technology or pursuit, runs the risk of easy hampering. It’s no surprise that security threats within IoT are growing and that this factor is a core reason many organisations have yet to develop an IoT platform or employ any basic IoT principles. Before acting on security concerns, it is first best to know what security risks your IoT system may face and then develop a strategy to offset these concerns.
Nokia carried out research last year on security breaches “from service provider networks where Nokia’s NetGuard Endpoint Security solution is deployed” and outlined in their threat intelligence report the findings. It found that within the IoT space, infections and breaches on IoT devices make up 32% of all infections found on mobile networks. It also breaks down the type of malware attacks that occurred, with Covid-19-type attacks forming the large majority of threats.
Unfortunately, security breaches are a big hindrance to IoT adoption and one of the main barriers, despite all of the outstanding benefits IoT can bring to organisations and industry. Whether you’ve newly implemented an IoT system or were an early adopter, or perhaps you’re still on the fence about choosing the best choice of IoT architecture, in this article we’re going to outline the anticipated IoT security threats of 2021. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we’ve also added top tips on how you can best protect yourself and your organisation when it comes to these vicious attacks.
1. IoT Device Threats
Various security research has found that IoT will become the preferred target for ransomware attacks. Botnets, advanced persistent threats, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, identity theft, data theft, man-in-the-middle attacks, social engineering attacks and others.
How do they corrupt the devices? Well, IoT devices are insecure by nature. They are directly connected to the internet but don’t have a lot of computing power to carry basic functionalities such as encryption. Hackers and threat actors will take advantage of the gap between the risks posed by IoT and how prepared people are to address those risks.
2. Remote Work Threats
Throughout 2020 when the vast majority of workers were forced to stay at home during the pandemic, cyberattacks increased. Home networks and devices became significant attack vendors, as security concerns slackened due to users working on their mobile devices or personal equipment. This network extension extends the defensible parameter, opening up the organisation to malicious threats and network attacks.
A phishing attack could first infiltrate an employee through an email acting like someone else in the organisation. Extracting passwords and other sensitive information can give the attacker network access, who can then move across to more sensitive data or take control of the IoT system.
3. IoT Deepfakes
You’ve heard of photoshop, but have you heard of deepfakes? Using AI deep learning techniques, the AI runs an algorithm called an encoder with thousands of images to create a picture or video of images it found that contain similarities. The same tactics used here are also used behind IoT attacks, such as brute force attacks and biometrics spoofing.
From fake fingerprints to voices and video, along with GAN (generative adversarial network) techniques, people and organisations can be tricked into thinking they are receiving orders from their CEO or coworkers to wire money or suffer from network breaches or blackmail.
4. AI Threats, But Not How You Think
When we think of AI threats, we might think of robots and computers infiltrating spaceships and governments. Unfortunately, they’re not that obvious and instead are playing off the backs of current well-known cyber attacks. Phishing, SQL injections, cross-site-scripting and man-in-the-middle attacks are all common forms. Instead of creating wholly new attacks in the form of AI, attackers will instead piggyback off of these common attacks and use AI to ramp up the sheer force of them.
AI threats are capable of performing many repetitive, flexible tasks that take mere mortals much longer to manually execute. AI systems can crawl through large data sets to extract the information they need in seconds, making it more difficult to find who the culprits are.
With all technologies and online work comes the threat of possible cyberattacks and crime. It is always better to be more secure and adept at spotting these things than less, and working with Davra always ensures we keep you in the light about possible threats and how you can best mitigate them. If you’re interested in developing a safe and secure IoT solution today, please get in touch with any questions and concerns you may have.
Brian McGlynn, Davra, COO
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