Securing the Connected World With IoT Security Solutions
As more and more devices become interconnected, the security risks are increasing exponentially. From smart coffee-makers to critical infrastructure systems, hackers can potentially gain access to personal information, financial data, and even military or medical secrets.
Effective IoT security solutions include prevention, detection, and response. They should also include hardware-based safety measures like private enclaves, secure boot, and encryption.
Hardware Root of Trust
The hardware root of trust is a critical foundational element of security for any system. A hardware root of trust enables a device’s identity and cryptographic keys to be established and protected from cloning, counterfeiting, reverse engineering, and other threats.
The best way to embed a hardware root of trust is with a secure Hardware Security Module (HSM). An HSM is a dedicated security chip that securely stores, safeguards, and manages cryptographic keys in a tamper-resistant and verifiable environment. Embedded HSMs are typically used for IoT devices that require high levels of security, such as connected home appliances. IoT devices that are less expensive and protect lower-value secrets will need to rely on other methods, such as TPMs or other single-purpose chips, to implement their root of trust.
Runtime memory contains sensitive data, including plaintext keys, and its integrity and authenticity must be guaranteed via a hardware root of trust. Protecting the hardware root of trust during power down, boot, and communication with other devices or the cloud is also essential.
Providing a solid root of trust is critical to preventing the proliferation of IoT attacks that cost companies, governments, and individuals billions of dollars annually. IoT manufacturers are addressing these risks with various solutions, including implementing secure boot and incorporating Hardware Security Modules into their products.
IoT devices have exploded in organizations, creating new attack surfaces and raising the stakes for cyber attackers. Whether it’s locks, security cameras, thermostats, or even warehouse machinery, IoT devices are only sometimes considered part of the network and need an IT team to oversee their patching, software updates, and other cybersecurity standards.
Many IoT products are designed with usability and connectivity in mind rather than security, and they often allow remote access to data. This means they are constantly accessible to attackers who can use these connections to breach an organization’s network and steal critical data.
Encryption is one of the most critical IoT security solutions to consider, as it protects data communications by converting data into unreadable cipher text that only the authorized recipient can decrypt. This encryption is essential to IoT security because it provides confidentiality of contents, authentication of origin, and data integrity.
Implementing multi-factor authentication on any IoT device that requires a login, especially in the workplace, is also critical. This will stop hackers from using brute force to access your account because they will require numerous kinds of verification to access the device. It’s also recommended that you change the default credentials on IoT devices as soon as you receive them so that you can prevent cybercriminals from using them to gain unauthorized access.
A “secure boot” security feature ensures that only reliable software can launch at startup. It checks the digital signatures of critical components like the bootloader, operating system, and device drivers to verify they are authentic and have not been tampered with. This prevents malware from running on the device and protects against attacks that would cripple software execution.
IoT developers need to implement a comprehensive set of security solutions to protect devices from malware attacks. These must be multifaceted and baked in from the lowest level of the system-on-chip design to the applications that run on a chip.
A vital component is using a microcontroller that supports secure boot. The microcontroller’s hardware must be pre-configured to authenticate code using trusted security credentials. This is important because it prevents hackers from hijacking a device by manipulating the initial boot process or loading manipulated software that could compromise the operation of the device.
Data Loss Prevention
IoT devices are a common target for hackers because they collect and process sensitive data. IoT security solutions that prevent data loss and ensure data is not stolen are crucial for protecting the network.
A zero-trust approach to IoT security is the best way to mitigate risks, as it limits default access to all connected devices. This includes ensuring IoT devices can’t communicate with the rest of the network. It also requires all users to be authenticated and authorized.
Manufacturers can also improve IoT security by implementing stronger authentication and making it easier to change device passwords. It is also essential to update firmware when updates become available, as this eliminates vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit. In addition, it is essential to ensure that IoT devices don’t rely on the same passwords as other applications or websites, making them vulnerable to dictionary attacks.
The IoT industry needs to continue to work together to reduce security risks. This includes integrating security into devices, encouraging programming developers to work with cybersecurity experts, and educating consumers about IoT threats. Consumers can play an essential role by avoiding devices that don’t meet high-security standards, limiting IoT connectivity to private networks, and using a password manager for all connected devices. A backup plan for IoT devices that don’t connect to the Internet is also a good idea.