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IoT Can Put your Data at Risk: Here’s How

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a rapidly growing network of interconnected devices. These devices constantly pass data both to the internet and to each other in domestic and commercial contexts, increasing productivity and convenience. Devices include everything from the most sophisticated self-driving cars to basic internet-connected video cameras and even household appliances.

This market is predicted to exceed a trillion dollars by the mid 2020s but there is one aspect that is causing some businesses to be rightly wary about deploying IoT devices: data security.

IoT Security Issues You Need To Know

There are a number of threats from IoT devices that could put business and customer data at risk. Here are some of the major IoT security challenges including…

  • Unauthorized access to the device itself
  • Low quality products
  • Poor password hygiene
  • Lack of IT support

PennComp, providers of IT support in Houston, recommend creating a solid disaster recovery plan as a safeguard against data loss should the worst happen.

Unauthorized Access to IoT Devices

When business owners think about IoT security, they often focus on threats coming from the depths of the Internet. But what about physical tampering of the device itself? Unless an interconnected device is under constant surveillance it is possible that a hacker could plug in a flash drive and reprogram the device to carry out unintended activity. For example, a digital assistant in a staff room could be set to record constantly and divert the data to a remote PC.

Even the most basic internet-connected appliance can be theoretically broken into and used to attack an organization unless it is being monitored as closely as any office PC.

Legacy or Low Quality Devices

Security by design is the future of a safe IoT but we are still in a ‘wild west’ phase of minimal regulation at the moment. This was even more the case when the early wave of IoT device releases first arrived as tech entrepreneurs rushed products through development and on to the market.

As you might imagine, security was a low priority for many of these developers which means there are a lot of legacy devices out there which roll out the red carpet for hackers. If you were an early IoT adopter you may need to replace these devices or build additional security around them.

The same logic applies to the lowest price IoT devices on the market today. Until real regulation arrives to protect businesses, owners should opt for secure by design devices from reputable vendors.

Poor Password Hygiene

As many IoT devices are built for the mass market, they are often shipped with default admin passwords (this also applies to routers which come under the IoT umbrella). If these passwords are not updated when configured, hackers can simply log into the devices remotely and do what they want.

The poor quality of much IoT device documentation doesn’t help with setting up secure password update procedures.

Lack of IT Support

Even good quality IoT devices require regular patching. Hackers regularly discover loopholes in device security and can use these to launch so-called ‘zero-day exploits.’ If updated software isn’t quickly released, the cybercriminals can then broaden their attack to target any businesses using the same flawed software.

Some IoT devices come with a few months or years of updates and IT support. Once this has expired, the device is at risk and should be replaced. Business owners are advised to always buy IoT products with lifetime updates and support.

Protecting Data with A Disaster Recovery Plan

One of the biggest threats to business data is not having a solid disaster recovery solution in place. As PennComp, provider of Houston IT consulting services, explains on its website, local backups alone are not enough. A comprehensive disaster recovery plan can vastly reduce downtime and mitigate financial loss.