A remedial approach to destructive IoT hacks

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As of this year, there are more than 10 billion active IoT devices all over the world, many of which are deployed in enterprises.

IoT hacks

Keeping those devices secure is of the utmost importance, lest they be a way in for attackers, so it’s imperative that organizations institute IoT security practices that remediate vulnerabilities and better protect the network – by identifying and securing every “thing”. The main challenge lies in the fact that most companies aren’t aware of the spread of devices connected to its network.

Find and fix every “thing”

Executives often greatly underestimate how much of their network is made up of IoT devices––putting the number at about 1 percent. However, it’s typically 20 percent or higher. In fact, IBM X-Force recently estimated that devices make up 43 percent of the access points on the average organization’s network.

One reason for this discrepancy is that devices are often being deployed without IT department knowledge or approval, as they are often owned and managed by other teams (e.g., facilities management or physical security teams).

It’s critical for companies to get a handle on device inventory now. Device discovery and inventory are the first step in basic security hygiene – but is often harder than expected. Many discovery solutions provide little more information than MAC and IP addresses or use signals that knock over existing devices.

What’s needed is enriched data that allows for security teams to act. With greater awareness and complete visibility into every connected device, organizations can create a full inventory of IoT devices with all the information required to maintain them.

According to a recent Positive Technologies report, 15% of IoT devices owners continue to use default passwords. This report also found that just five sets of usernames and passwords gave them access to a great number of IoT devices, including IP cameras, routers, DVRs, and smart washing machines. Default passwords allow attackers to take over IoT devices as easy access points into the network. From there, they can use these credentials to move laterally, escalate privileges and eventually gain access to an…