The Iot Or Internet Of Things: Tips For Maintaining Security
The smart home is a very new thing but one that has spread very quickly around the world. Google, Amazon, and other similar companies have developed devices that can create a home with every single device connected and communicative to a broader network. Businesses too have picked up on this new innovation with a remarkable level of enthusiasm.
While the smart home being hacked is a scary prospect, imagine the dangers were something like a hospital hacked and exploited using a password obtained from a seemingly innocuous source. The Iot or internet of things as it is called is an exciting prospect. But, everyone, especially businesses, needs to be sure that individual networks are secure against attacks from outside sources lest the connections we crave become a pathway for a network-wide takedown. So, what are some things we can do right now?
Some attacks against IoT networks are backdoor attacks through new security vulnerabilities, but many are dreadfully simple. The password of a user is obtained or just guessed using some common default options that are both widespread and easy to find. From there, it’s easy for a virus or similarly destructive program to spread. Once one of these bits of malicious software worms its way in, it becomes infinitely easier to enter other computers with similar software.
How is something so deviously human defeated? Well, there are many unique ways. Designing or using a personalized password infrastructure, requiring certain characters in passwords, and requiring that each user use custom, secure passwords. These aren’t foolproof by any means, but to prevent a serious issue down the line they are the bottom line regarding user security.
Make sure even with these solutions to foster a culture in whatever network you’re in of taking security seriously. Even if it’s not likely that something happens, it is possible, and trust me, it gets much more likely if employees or coworkers are throwing around passwords like confetti.
This should go without saying but a device that cannot install security software, or even that has software pre-installed with a vulnerability is not acceptable for modern networks. This is a statement that should be fairly obvious, but cost-cutting measures make it very difficult to justify updating often.
Many networks are filled with old devices that struggle to keep up when it comes to industry standards. For a much better description of why this is true, read here: https://www.techtarget.com/iotagenda/definition/IoT-security-Internet-of-Things-security. The world moves fast, and the devices of 5 years ago just aren’t up to the challenge of modern privacy and security.
Even though this is kind of the opposite of the meaning of the Internet of Things, the larger your network is on an individual device level, the more holes you open up for problematic uses. Keep personal device usage to a minimum, and if you can make sure each device is accounted for. While a virus on your business computers may be unusual and improbable, a personal virus is a very common thing.
As stated earlier, it’s very easy for something within the network to move around and end up infecting all devices in that network. Passwords for instance are fairly easy to steal for devices that don’t require up-to-date password standards. Click here for a very useful website that tracks common data breaches and allows you to check your password against them. They are very honest with how they check and what they do with any information typed in, and it’s safe to say in terms of websites that are safe to use this one may top the charts.
While this is a minor aspect of keeping a business safe, it’s very important that when a security breach occurs it is reported. This can happen in many ways, from network administrators and other IT staff to just a single employee imparting that a device may have been compromised. It may be embarrassing to admit this level of weakness, but it is even more embarrassing to have your entire network take part in a DDoS attack that you never saw coming.
Many network services are outsourced, and the channels between you and someone who can do something about an issue should be secure, quick, and highly efficient. If the security issue was identified early, it can be fixed, but if not make sure to be forgiving to the person who let that malicious software in, it may make the difference when the next person has a suspicion that needs to be looked into.
It may seem like a terrible thing for an office using a great version of software to risk bloatware and other needless expenditures by updating, but updated software often comes with fixes for a huge array of security issues. Major companies who produce network software have teams that fight against vulnerabilities on a daily basis, and their good fight manifests in annoying pop-ups that employees often close.
So here’s the challenge for everyone: when that update appears, do it instantly without thinking about the problems too much. Software with too many features that reduce performance is one thing, malicious software that can tear apart a network is another. Don’t let the malicious software in, and instead disable the new update features (most programs have this option). As an alternative, just don’t disable them since many new features are futureproofed in ways that the old ones aren’t.
All of these tips can easily and quickly be summarized in a few words: take security seriously. It’s a pain for the home or for a business but it is essential should the metaphorical Eye of Sauron turn towards your network. An Internet of Things is only as secure as its weakest link, so make sure your devices aren’t the subject of the next botnet by staying updated, informed, and meticulous.