The Internet of Things (IoT) has grown into a fundamental part of the business and everyday life that affects everything from monitoring products in a warehouse to track abnormal patterns within your organization. Today, IoT devices are cheap, small, and easily accessible. Statista reveals that the number of IoT devices will reach 74 billion by 2025.
Gartner also predicts, by the end of 2020, 5.8 billion enterprise and automotive IoT endpoints will be in use. The emergence of 5G and the massive expansion of IoT devices has introduced a new security challenge. This challenge is a serious one and needs to be addressed.
Although the wonders of IoT are undeniable, the high profile attacks when combined with uncertainty about security best practices and the dangers of the 5G world keeps many businesses away from adopting this technology. Those who have adopted aren't aware of the risks, and this can cause them a lot.
Regarding the security of the IoT ecosystem, we've compiled this article for them, which will answer all your answers.
Why is it So Important to Secure IoT?
Due to the increased demand in connectivity along with 5G network-enabled, IoT devices causes the device vendors to rush to the market demanding dominance in an unexploited market.
The wave of competition pushes the vendors to risk their security testing for speed, allowing the possible vulnerabilities to remain hidden behind the devices. We can only hope that the developers will take their time to ensure the security vulnerabilities are appropriately resolved. But, the addition of numerous new tools brings opportunities for malicious online parties as well as threat actors to penetrate the devices from the backend.
When a bad actor gets entree to a device, they use lateral movement to access other devices that are inaccessible. The large volume of data shared among different IoT devices becomes a target for hackers, fraudsters, and unethical vendors who are interested in obtaining such data. Remember, if this data goes in the wrong hands, it can harm tech giants and government agencies too.
Things do not end here; the growth of 5G networks also provides more options for access. As technology is new, so, the device developers need time to identify how to overcome these vulnerabilities and make their network secure.
As we are moving into the 5G age, it is vital to understand that any IoT device can be vulnerable to cyber-attacks. It includes smartphones, laptops, smart home devices, and Wi-Fi enabled picture frames. Unfortunately, the simple devices like television run on older versions of an operating system with known flaws and applicable exploits. Although, these devices might look quite decent on a users' desk but become vulnerable when connected to the network.
All we can say, 5G is emerging with a stream of IoT devices and some new technologies. However, organizations should always remember that the attack surface is also expanding significantly and increases the chances of threat actors.
Ways to Secure IoT
With the invasion of 5G enabled devices, practicing a holistic, multi-layered approach is vital to protect the IoT ecosystem along with other valuable assets. Almost every organization's IT, security needs and structure is different.
For example, a factory that uses various IoT devices to produce automobiles has different security practices than a life-sensitive device, like an insulin pump that relies on remediation and response plans. If someone tries to access the data, the device won't get disabled.
5G technology is more secure with its built-in security practices. It includes network sharing, secure encryption, subscriber identity protection, and minimal risk of spying. But to address the business needs, enterprises and companies might be proactive in adjusting their security controls and policies.
1. Adopt Automated and Virtualized Security Controls
Implementing this measure helps the organization to manage the expanded attacks surface and reduce future risks efficiently. Virtualized security can be quickly deployed and allows organizations to respond to new attacks with an automated response like creating a firewall.
2. Enforce Machine Learning and Threat Detection
By doing so, you can better analyze and monitor the increased amount of activity across your network. Machine learning and automated threat detection are essential because manual intervention will no longer be able to react to the amount of data that 5G technology will bring.
3. Count a Zero-Trust Approach
Using zero trusts for authorization and identity across all devices in your organization reduces the possibility of the introduction of malware within your network. Also, by continually checking a user's presence and behavior, the zero-trust model helps the security team in determining either the user is human or a machine.
4. Implement a Shared Security Model
IoT devices will have vulnerabilities like factory-default passwords remaining in production, and organizations need to take responsibility for protecting against the rogue devices. Like in the public cloud, a shared security model for 5G helps the providers allow for security in the substructure by using the network itself as a security tool, while companies tackle the endpoints.
In a shared security model, the enterprises assume the responsibility for the devices on the network. Also, with 5G, the network operator is responsible for the elements of security present in 3GPP frameworks and standards (including data encryption and radio access network). It also involves handling the protection of the network infrastructure. At the same time, the enterprise might take upcharge for devices on the web, i.e., mobile device management, identity and access management, and certification of applications that the company runs on the network.
5. Perform Regular Security Audits and Risks Assessments
Set up an alert system to ensure that alerts are answered in real-time. Most companies have access to security information along with event management software that can set particular rules to detect malicious activities in network traffic and log data. Reviewing these alerts should be a part of the preparation for monitoring the 5G IoT devices. Make sure that IT decision-makers are updated on the latest reports and threat intelligence related to the IoT networks.
Secondly, regular reporting on the state IT network security is a good idea but ensures that IoT networks are a part of those assessments and audits. Just don't roll them into a general IT assessment. Also, make sure to treat the IoT security assessment as a separate matter with different considerations.
6. Update the Third-Party Access List
It doesn't matter how good your security structure is if the vendors you can access your IoT network you suffered from a breach. Remember, their mistakes can cost your organization to suffer at the hands of the threat actors.
To mitigate that risk, make sure that the third-party vendor access-list is updated, discard the old ones and revoke any permissions that a third party doesn't ask for. Enforce compliance standards for vendors to follow and be sure they are meeting the requirements.
The 5G networks are amazing and open the door to numerous new possibilities for the latest devices and technologies. However, it is crucial to keep in mind that nothing in this world is a hundred percent safe and secure.
By staying aware of the connected devices on your network, what are their usages, and who the users are, it is possible to make secure IoT devices in a 5G world and reduce their potential risks. Hopefully, the points mentioned above will surely help you in this regard, and you'll follow them to boost your privacy.
Shigraf is a tech writer and editor at PrivacyCrypts, who has a passion for technology. She pours her passion for writing on topics regarding cybersecurity and AI. Follow her on twitter.