Published on October 9th, 2019 | by Emergent Enterprise0
IoT Application Security Challenges and Solutions
The beauty of IoT: many data-producing sensors providing information for business. The danger of IoT: many data-producing sensors providing information for business. This IoTforall post by Prashant Gurav has an overview of the security challenges in IoT and what dangers lurk there and how to be ready for them. Every IoT component is a gateway to a security breach but a smart security strategy can stop the bad guys at the gate.
Illustration: © IoT For All
Though IoT applications offer a host of advantages which will surely cause a disruption in technology as we know it, it comes with a fresh set of challenges, which need to be addressed in order to make it work effectively.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has taken the world by storm. According to predictions, there will be around 30 billion connected devices in the year 2020. This means that some or all of your home appliances, like TVs, AC units, refrigerators, etc., might have the capability to be controlled remotely. Though IoT applications offer a host of advantages that will surely cause a disruption in technology as we know it, it comes with a fresh set of challenges, which needs to be addressed in order to make it work effectively.
The Security Challenge
All IoT-enabled devices contain sensors that transmit and receive data; these are actuators that physically control the device. IoT OS-based firmware typically contains a small OS-based installation of the IoT applications and WiFi communication, which enables the data to be sent and received via the internet router to the internet.
The above components are all vulnerable to attacks on the system. They form the attack surface, which means that the hacker can choose one of the above components to introduce malware and to compromise the system. Below are the types of attacks that can be launched on the system:
- Scan and takeover: If the authentication and authorization of the IoT application are weak, with poor password protection and poor encryptions due to limited hardware resources to run complex algorithms, the hacker can enter the system, control, and take over the system.
- Distributed DOS (denial of service): If the request traffic sent to the IoT application is so huge that the system cannot handle it, the target host goes down and is not responsive or functional. If the device is connected to the internet, it is comparatively easier for the attack to happen from multiple sources, and the hacker can easily bring the system down.
- Spam attack: If the grandma IP is connected to the net, IP addresses can easily send malware attacks to the IoT application if there is no security.
- Message interception using spyware: As many IoT applications have low resources, it might not be possible to enable encrypted communication over the network layer using TLS or other security mechanisms. This compromises the system, as spyware can read the data sent and manipulate it as per its requirement.
- Injection attacks: All web applications, including IoT, are susceptible to this form of attack, which adds an additional request to the existing one, causing the system to become compromised. SQL and XML are a few forms of injection attacks.
- Vulnerable 3pp libraries: Some 3pps that have been hacked into before show that if it enters the application via system updates, it can completely compromise and take over the system. Only secure 3pps must be used and continuous monitoring of the updates must happen.