Top 3 IoT-Related Threat Pathways and Solutions

Top 3 IoT-Related Threat Pathways and Solutions

IoT devices present some of the common vulnerabilities that nefarious cybercriminals target. Popular IoT-related security vulnerabilities range from the lack of adequate security controls, regulations and standards to simple default passwords and innate threats. Cybercriminals can use various routes to exploit vulnerabilities in IoT devices and networks, which have become an easy way to perpetrate malicious attacks on companies and supply chains. Here’s an overview of three IoT-related threat pathways hackers use and their solutions:

1. Botnet Attacks

In recent years, retailers have faced sustained threats from botnet attacks that seek to compromise misconfigured and vulnerable IoT devices across retail locations. A botnet is an internet-connected device that has been compromised by malware. Several such devices are called botnets. Cybercriminals use botnet attacks to gain unauthorized access to networks and systems, steal customer credentials and payment data and complete DDoS attacks. One of the botnets that has successfully infiltrated the retail sector is Mirai. The botnet compromises routers, cameras and other enslaved IoT devices to amplify DDoS attacks.

Despite being discovered back in 2016, the botnet’s source code was leaked, which led to the development of numerous variants that the retail sector has found challenging to track. Malicious actors also use botnets along remote access trojans and infostealers to carry out large-scale attacks, facilitate browser access and camera viewing and relay attack commands. Cybersecurity experts advocate practices like inspecting web traffic, autonomously blocking malicious traffic and isolating compromised domains and endpoints. Here are more solutions for preventing botnet attacks:

  • Using static and dynamic analysis to inspect executable files and archives before download
  • Configuring policies that block all downloads and uploads stemming from instances or apps outside the organization
  • Implementing intrusion prevention systems to identify and block suspect traffic patterns
  • Using remote browser isolation to add a layer of protection when visiting newly registered or observed domains/websites

2. Malware Attacks

Cybercriminals use various ways to execute malware attacks on businesses. Common practices include phishing and business email compromise. However, malware attacks can also be carried out through IoT devices that hackers can hijack and turn into potent botnets ready for remote commands. Hackers can use structured query language injection to destroy company databases by injecting malicious code into the SQL statement. Since most IoT devices don’t feature security patching/updates, they can barely contend with evolving risks.

IoT devices generally lack firewalls, ACLs and other filtering checkpoints. They also lack basic encryptions used to secure data in transit, meaning most IoT data traffic is unencrypted. However, retailers can take insight from the robust approaches used in the gambling industry. For instance, trustworthy new casinos online UK punters join today provide lengthy password fields featuring numbers, letters and other characters. They also run 24/7 malware sweeps and offer multi-factor authorization, access restrictions, banking limits, geo-restriction, activity reports and remote monitoring. Here are some measures retailers can adopt to prevent malware attacks on IoT devices:

  • Installing the latest antivirus software on both on-site and remote computers
  • Reconfigure IoT devices and networks to eliminate vulnerable default passwords
  • Assess the digital security risk across the entire IoT journey
  • Replace single security policies with protocols optimized for specific vulnerabilities
  • Automating security patches and updates for all software systems
  • Implementing virtual private networks for safe connections
  • Securing business emails and other communications
  • Providing employee training concerning IoT security threats
  • Leveraging AI technologies to autonomously monitor networks for suspicious patterns

3. DDoS Attacks

Distributed Denial of Service attacks or DDoS attacks involve flooding company servers with multiple data requests with the aim of overwhelming the system. When so many requests are coming at the same time, the network may slow down, shut down or crash. Such scenarios may lead to rebooting and reconfigurations, presenting ideal opportunities for malicious actors to gain entry into the network. DDoS attacks can also result in costly downtimes and massive compensations if third parties rely on the servers for specific functions. Attackers use untraceable IP addresses, which are usually hard to distinguish from legitimate traffic.

One way to combat DDoS attacks is through private servers and networks. A virtual private network provides access to dedicated servers with unlimited bandwidth. The servers are only used by the company as opposed to being shared with a dozen other organizations. With such a resource, it would take an unprecedented number of simultaneous requests to crash the servers. Even so, the system may still slow down when overloaded beyond its daily operation. Cybersecurity teams can implement other measures like traffic filtering to prevent the servers from getting overloaded. Another option is to divert traffic to backup servers during surges.

More IoT Threat Pathways

Hackers and malicious actors have many other routes to spreading malware and compromising their targets’ systems. Passive wiretapping, wardriving attacks and zero-day exploits are all common antics cybercriminals deploy. These may involve posing as an insider in a business, using sophisticated technologies to probe IoT wireless networks for vulnerabilities and exploiting undetected loopholes in software and hardware. Businesses must therefore establish comprehensive security systems and protocols following thorough risk assessment. The goal is to find a solution for each risk and configure autonomous responses to mitigate the damage caused by undetected attacks.


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BDC 317 : Jun 2024