The Internet of Things (IoT) opens up endless possibilities for tech — both the good and the bad.
IoT devices have improved productivity, reduced home energy spending, and basically made lives easier. But they’ve also opened the backdoor for hackers and cybercriminals.
You might be thinking, "What could they possibly get from hacking my toaster?"
But no one’s laughing when hackers breach your corporate networks and retrieve a handful of sensitive information.
The IoT began in the early 1980s when a group of Carnegie Mellon University graduates connected a Coke vending machine to their local Ethernet. This allowed them to know if the machine was stocked or if the Coke bottles were already cold.
Today, billions of things are connected to the internet — from watches, switches, thermostats, and even coffee makers. Soon, we’re looking into IoT vehicles, infotainment systems, automated teller machines, and medical devices.
When it comes to cybersecurity, one can never be too careful.
In fact, just recently, an Australian IoT provider and cloud solutions company was breached, exposing at least one form of ID of a total of 2.1 million customers.
This should concern SMEs and IT companies as they pick up on the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend. No matter how secure your system is, hackers will find every possible entry point to breach it.
You’ll never know the extent of a cyberattack until it happens to you. Don’t risk your business. Learn these five ways to protect your online assets in this IoT world.
One way of mitigating cybersecurity risks is to use a virtual private network (VPN) on your IoT devices.
A VPN-connected device encrypts all traffic running to and from it. Even if hackers intercepted this traffic, they wouldn’t be able to interpret it. This keeps cybercriminals from launching targeted attacks, such as distributed denial of service (DDoS).
This is also what a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, or HTTPS, does. It encrypts traffic and makes it unreadable to a third party. Make sure to secure an SSL for your website — especially if it contains sensitive data about you or your customers and clients.
It’s basically impractical to install a VPN on every desktop and mobile device in an office network. A solution to this is using a VPN router, which automatically protects every device it’s connected to.
For BYOD policies, make sure employees install native VPN apps to protect their devices even outside the office.
Toyota reportedly exposed credentials that allowed access to customer data, leading to a security breach. The security breach was due to two things: first, negligence; and second, a lack of updates in their security system.
Toyota reported that a subcontractor "uploaded part of the source code to their GitHub account while it was set to be public" last year. The source code had been exposed for nearly five years between December 2017 and September 15, 2022. If their security details were constantly updated, the case would have been prevented.
The UK-Singapore IoT security pledge also brought up this major concern. In their goal to improve the security of smart consumer products, they recommend manufacturers avoid common security shortcomings.
Protect your devices against cybercriminals. Here are some tips to create a strong password:
Skilled hackers can still crack the strongest of passwords.
This is why a multi-factor login is essential for any IoT device.
Add a second layer of protection to your assets by implementing two-factor authentication (2FA). There are different types to consider, including:
Gone are the days when only desktop computers connect to a corporate network. Today, mobility is the norm, especially among digital enterprises.
Mobile devices, such as smartphones and laptops, make it easier to carry out work.
For instance, web development agencies need them to test a website’s responsiveness to mobile devices. Plus, these agencies may be implementing BYOD — which further puts cybersecurity at risk.
The challenge falls to IT managers: How do you manage these devices with minimal security risk?
The solution is a good mobile device management (MDM) program. For a programme to succeed, you’ll need reliable MDM software. This should benefit your business in many ways:
There are several recommended MDM software products on the market, such as Cisco Meraki, Jamf, and IBM MaaS360.
Many corporate leaders are aware of the importance of cybersecurity. But not all of them are actually practising it in their businesses.
The truth is, good cyber hygiene is not just one department’s concern but the entire organisation’s.
All of your employees need to know the security threats they’re likely to face in the future. This includes how they work, how to identify them, and how to carry out the next steps upon getting them.
Here are some basic guidelines you can teach your staff:
Servers play a very crucial role for a company. It’s where almost all of a business's important data is found. A compromised server is a very big problem, not only for you but also, for your clients’ security, and could result in major losses.
Investing in secure premium servers ensures your business’s safety and builds confidence among your customers. If you don’t know how to get started, partnering with your web hosting provider is the best place to begin.
Cyberhackers and malicious entities have the power to do anything to your data once they gain access to your files. Hackers can wipe out everything you have stored on your server in an instant, damaging your company’s workflow and costing you millions — if not billions.
In the worst-case scenario, a cyberattack can destroy your entire business. Prevent this by investing in a secure backup plan to keep your business and your client’s data safe.
Most people think a cyberattack won’t happen to them. When you’ve got clients and customers relying on you, you can’t afford to make that mistake. IoT can take your business to greater heights — but only if you put the right cybersecurity measures in place.
Make sure to invest in a secure hosting provider that won’t compromise your business. Protect yourself and your clients from potential attacks.