IoT – Internet of Things – and the number game

Hackers are targeting internet of things devices like cameras, routers, printers, smart televisions, smart houses, connected cars etc. As use of Internet of Things (IoT) is increasing and we can expect use of Internet of Things (IoT) will increase day by day, notorious cyber criminals have increased their attacks on Internet of Things (IOT). According to Gartner “There are 5.5 million new things getting connected every day in 2016, as we head toward more than 20 billion by 2020”.

Internet of Things (IoT) devices comes with vulnerability and flaw, which makes them even more attracted to hackers or cyber criminals.

As per a survey conducted by Vanson Bourne on behalf of Irdeto “Eight in ten organizations have experienced a cyber attack on their IoT devices in the past 12 months, according to new research by Irdeto. Of those organizations, 90% experienced an impact as a result of the cyber attack, including operational downtime and compromised customer data or end-user safety.”

Organizations need to think how Internet of Things (IoT) devices are prone to cyber-attack and they should take into consideration about Cyber-attack before implementing Internet of Things (IoT) devices in their organizations.

Irdeto survey says, due to Internet of Things (IoT) device related vulnerability, transport industry, manufacturing industry and also healthcare industry from China, Germany, Japan, UK and US have suffered huge lose by cyber-attack. Average cyber-attack cost more than $330,000 USD.  And this cost will increase in years if no action taken promptly. Although organizations are not fully immune from cyber-attacks caused by Internet of Things (IoT) related vulnerability.

The survey stated “Only 7% of respondents stated that their organization has everything it needs to tackle cyber security challenges. 46% stated they need additional expertise/skills within the organization to address all aspects of cyber security. This was followed closely by more effective cyber security tools and the implementation of a more robust cyber security strategy at 43% each.” 

Cyber Criminals attacks Internet of Things (IoT) with their known vulnerability, and these Internet of Things (IoT) devices don’t get patched on time. Even some Internet of Things (IoT) manufacturers are not sure about security of the Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Survey finds 82% of Internet of Things (IoT) device manufacture concerned about their devices whether those devices are secured from cyber-attack or not. “a total of 93% of manufacturers and 96% of users of IoT devices stated that the cybersecurity of the IoT devices that they manufacture or use could be improved either to a great extent or to some extent. In the UK, Germany and China, 100% of IoT device users believe that the cybersecurity of the devices they use could be improved either to a great extent or to some extend”

47% of IOT cameras installed on homes are vulnerable to cyber-attack, as per a report form SAM Seamless Network, it is the security camera which is the most attacked Internet of Things (IOT) devices. Researchers says people are buying cheaper IOT cameras, which are more prone to cyber-attacks. SAM Seamless Network says “The most serious attacks target IP cameras. It feels that people aren’t investing in the best state-of-the-art security cameras which can cost hundreds of dollars – so they buy the cheaper ones,”

Besides IOT cameras, Printers, Smart TVs, IP Phones are also prone to cyber-attack, Study says 15% Smart hubs and 12% network-attached storage devices are vulnerable to cyber-attack.

How to Secure Internet of Things (IoT) devices from cyber-attacks

  • If you are not using your Internet of Things (IoT) devices, then consider disconnect them from internet.
  • Choose a hard to guess and strong password, and never use same password for multiple devices. Try to use a combination of small and capital letter, numbers and computer symbols as password. And always uses at least 8 character as password.
  • Patch your Internet of Things (IoT) device on time, and make sure you are using latest version of firmware.+
  • Use Internet of Things (IoT) devices from reputable vendors, don’t buy cheap internet of Things (IoT) devices, these cheap devices already come with vulnerability and never get patched.
  • Use your Internet of Things over secured connections. Best to use reputable VPN services.
  • Consider turning off UPnP (Universal Plug and Play), UPnP make devices like printers, routers vulnerable to cyber-attack.