An Overview of the Vulnerability of IoT Devices & How To Beat Them
IoT devices are the future according to a lot of people and the upcoming dawn of Meta makes it sound truer than ever. From smartwatches to smart refrigerators to even healthcare devices are now connected to the internet. Since they can share and receive data on the internet, the question arises are they vulnerable to hacks?
The answer is yes, they are. And there have been various incidences of such cyberattacks too. Currently, the situation is not as bad as you see in sci-fi films on Cox cable or streaming services. But the possibility of these attacks is raising many questions.
Go through this article to get a detailed idea:
Vast Applications of IoT Devices
Even if you are not using a high-tech AR/VR headset, there are still plenty of IoT devices around you. Surveillance cameras, WiFi routers, smart refrigerators, and so many other others are IoT devices. You can get an idea of the scale of this industry by the fact that global spending on smart home devices exceeds $123 billion according to Statista.
Numbers and global spending on these devices aside, the variety of IoT devices and the sheer volume of the industry raises many concerns. There are complete factories automated by robots with IoT technologies. Also, there are many medical and healthcare products like pacemakers and remote glucometers that can release insulin into the bloodstream.
The hospitality and transport industry is also increasingly adopting IOT technology with smart room locks and assisted driving cars. Many popular hotel chains are leveraging these technologies to enhance their customer experience. Similarly, major names in the automobile industry are using these technologies to make smarter cars. In short, the targets of hackers are multiple and spread across industries.
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Vulnerabilities of IoT Devices
There are thousands of products IOT products available in the market. But regardless of the brand, many of these products are manufactured by the same companies. So, the security protocols of many of these devices are not very different. The same goes for their vulnerabilities too. This means hackers do not have to do a lot to get unauthorized access to a device.
One of the common problems with these devices is their easy-to-guess passwords. Sometimes, you can even find such passwords online as well. Users often do not change the default passwords which makes these devices easily vulnerable. What’s more alarming is the fact that once hackers break into the environment, the whole network becomes an easy target. In addition to weak passwords, often the network is not protected or the protocols are weak. When both these things combine, it can create problems of a massive scale.
Usually, companies have software updates that fix the gaps in the security features of an older software version. Just like updating mobile software and OS versions of computers, it is crucial. But often these devices are not overlooked when it comes to software updates. Usually, the user has to allow the auto-update option for devices to automatically update. Sometimes, the manufacturers stop rolling out software updates which can be another major problem for users. Missing these updates can leave the devices open to a number of attacks.
Examples of IoT Hacks
There have been incidences at different times that demonstrated how IoT devices can be hacked. One major example of such an attack is the Mirai Botnet attack. And now recently on the first of June, there has been an even bigger DDoS attack with more than 46 million requests per second. This attack was 76% bigger than any attack to date. Such attacks can affect the highest levels of cybersecurity.
Another example with a more life-threatening severity has been found to be in St. Jude Medical’s pacemakers. FDA announced found a flaw in these pacemakers. The transmitter on these devices could be hacked and cause a number of problems like faster draining battery and improper functioning. The outcome of such problems with medical devices can be devastating.
Lastly, in 2015, a group of IBM researchers demonstrated a vulnerability of Jeep SUV software. They could slow down the jeep, increase speed, and turn it at will. Now with a shift in the automobile industry towards smart cars, there are multiple security aspects companies will have to cover. These are just a few examples and there are many others you can find on the internet by yourself. The point of mentioning these problems is that the concerns are very real. These problems have to be covered by both manufacturers and consumer ends.
IoT devices are on a constant rise and expanding super-fast. But when adopting these devices, it is important to be aware of such problems. What you can do instead is to buy products from trusted names and change the default settings. Also, covering your network with a VPN may be a good step in securing your devices.