The internet of things (IoT) is the network of everyday objects that have been upgraded with computer chips and connected to the internet. It includes cars, televisions, thermostats, lightbulbs, and many objects that would be considered smart devices. These devices interact with each other and can provide a dynamic office or home experience that allows for more efficient climate control, better control of lighting, and the use of devices like Alexa or Google Home. The downside is that the internet of things can be vulnerable to attacks, and hackers are always looking for ways to get into your network through an unsecured device.
How the IoT Works
From a person’s perspective, the internet of things works via smartphone apps or interfaces on the device itself. You can simply set the times that people are in the office, and a smart thermostat will lower the room temperature when everyone has left for the day and raise it when they arrive in the morning. On the device side, sensors, cameras, and an internet connection provide a steady feed of data to the device, which has the ability to dynamically respond to changes in the environment, incoming data from the internet, or human interaction through an app. IoT devices are reliable and consistant because they are connected to your network and able to work with each other seamlessly.
How Hackers Attack Your IoT
Because the internet of things is connected to your home or office network, malicious actors know that if they find a way to access one of your smart devices, then they can gain access to other devices and information on your network. They can do this by taking advantage of exploits in a device’s firmware or default settings that a user may not change. Additionally, hackers can perform man in the middle attacks or intercept unencrypted communications when an IoT device connects to a cloud service. If weak passcodes are used for IoT devices, then attackers can also use information they already have about your business to brute force their way into your IoT.
Keeping Your IoT Secure
The first step to keeping your IoT devices safe from attacks is consistent monitoring. Attacks that are noticed quickly can be stopped early, and the root cause of the attack can be addressed if your IT department or IT consultant is able to gather the information they need. Devices should be updated regularly, and the passwords used for your IoT should all vary so that it will be harder for an attacker to access multiple devices. Ultimately, if your business makes use of the IoT, then you should work with your IT department or an IT consultant to assess the risks your business faces and how you can best plan to mitigate those threats.
The IoT has brought a lot of convenience and utility into our personal and working lives, but it is critical that it gets monitored appropriately and secured against attacks. A malicious actor gaining access to a smart refrigerator or thermostat can lead to data breaches and malware attacks, so small businesses must be on top of their cybersecurity. Here at Robinett Consulting, we want to bring enterprise-level cybersecurity to small business, so if you need a plan for better securing your IoT, then our security specialists are ready to help today!
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