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What Should I Know About Defending IoT Attack Surfaces?

  • 4 mths ago

Question: What do I need to know about defending Internet of Things (IoT) attack surfaces?

Bud Broomhead, CEO at Viakoo: There are several reasons why it's critical for organizations to defend their IoT attack surface, most importantly being that IoT devices are powerful systems containing compute, storage, and networking that threat actors view as the easiest way to breach an organization or enable exploits. The attack surface needs to be part of the overall corporate infosec policy unless a specific exemption is given, including policies around firmware patches and using certificates. The impact of not defending the IoT attack surface is massive and tends to fall into two categories. First is realizing that IoT device vulnerabilities are an effective method to breach an organization, and second is preventing IoT devices from being used in broader cyberattacks against multiple organizations.

Let's start with why IoT devices have become a preferred method for cybercriminals to breach an organization. IoT devices are hard to secure, they exist at five to 20 times the scale of IT devices, and they are often physically distributed widely across the organization (neatly contained in data centers). Traditional IT security solutions don't work for IoT because they are often agent-based, and IoT devices do not allow agents to be placed on them due to the devices having unique operating systems and communication protocols.

Not only are there more vulnerabilities impacting IoT devices than traditional IT systems, IoT devices offer a wider set of exploits to a threat actor. For example, man-in-the-middle attacks are essentially a solved problem for IT systems, yet they still can be effective against IoT systems. These are some of the reasons threat actors view IoT as low-hanging fruit in breaching an organization.

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