The Internet of Things (IoT) has revolutionized the way we connect and interact with devices, both in our homes and within business environments. From smart thermostats to security cameras, the IoT encompasses a diverse array of devices that communicate over the internet. While this connectivity brings efficiency and convenience, it also introduces potential cyber liability risks for businesses.
Understanding the Internet of Things
In simple terms, the Internet of Things refers to devices beyond traditional computers and smartphones that connect to the internet. Devices such as smart speakers, security cameras, smoke detectors, manufacturing equipment, and even everyday items like light switches and thermostats can fall under the IoT umbrella. These devices gather and exchange data, often enhancing automation and functionality.
Unveiling the Cyber Liability Risks
The convenience offered by IoT devices comes with a caveat – each device becomes a potential entry point for cyber threats. Malicious actors, including hackers and ransomware writers, can exploit vulnerabilities in these seemingly innocuous devices to gain access to a business’s server. The risk is particularly high when these devices lack proper protection or robust firewalls.
Consider a scenario where a business’s door lock system is connected to the internet to monitor employee movements and visitor traffic. If this device is not adequately protected, it could serve as a gateway for unauthorized access to the server. The challenge is compounded by the fact that many IoT devices utilize software development kits (SDKs), and once these devices are deployed, keeping the SDKs updated with the latest security patches becomes a potential gap.
Mitigating IoT-Related Cyber Risks
1. Conduct an IoT Device Inventory:
Start by creating a comprehensive inventory or census of all IoT devices connected to your business’s server. Your server logs can be a valuable resource for identifying these devices.
2. Check for Security Updates:
Regularly review and update the security protocols of each IoT device. Ensure that the devices are equipped with the latest patches to address any vulnerabilities.
3. Limit Data Pathways:
Configure IoT devices to connect only to the essential data pathways required for their intended function. Avoid unnecessary connections that could expose sensitive information.
4. Evaluate Connection Security:
When adding a new IoT device, scrutinize its connection requirements. Be cautious about providing access to critical systems, and restrict connections to the minimum necessary for the device to operate.
5. Regular Cybersecurity Meetings:
Integrate discussions about IoT security into regular cybersecurity meetings. This ensures ongoing awareness and allows for the dissemination of best practices among stakeholders.
Empowering Your Business Against IoT Cyber Threats
Being proactive and vigilant in managing IoT-related cyber risks is essential for safeguarding your business. An awareness of the potential entry points these devices present to hackers is the first step toward creating a more secure environment.
If you have questions or comments regarding IoT cybersecurity or any other cyber threats your business may face, feel free to share them in the comments section below. We welcome the opportunity to address your concerns and provide insights tailored to your business’s unique cybersecurity needs.