IoT or Internet of Things refers to all devices and objects that rely on internet use for their full functionality. Many people did not precedent the popularity and expansiveness that IoT devices have gained in recent years.
These gadgets are everywhere, homes, offices, schools etc. IoT devices make most of our day-to-day activities more convenient. If the 2019 predictions are anything to go by, then over 80% of enterprises are likely to direct a larger share of their investments on IoT spending. This, after noting that this technology has been helping them in unlocking so many untapped opportunities.
But as is the case with every good thing, IoT devices have their limitations. This connectivity brings with it an inherent exposure to cyber risks. Most of the common threats are designed in a manner that is beyond the scope of an antivirus. Therefore, an antivirus alone cannot shield threats on IoT devices.
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To remain safe, you have to look beyond basic antiviruses; this is the only way to identify solutions that will safeguard your devices against the cyber-attacks. This article discusses this and other significant insights that will help you secure your devices.
3 Major threats facing IoT users in 2020
Denial of Service (DoS) attacks
A DoS attack happens when attackers intentionally send too many requests to a system in a bid to overwhelm it.
Since they rely on internet connectivity, IoT devices are an easy target of Denial of Service attacks. The requests slow down the productivity of a system; let’s say a server and may eventually force its operators to go offline.
IoT allows for cloud storage and computing. Both individuals and enterprises are seeing this as an ideal way to store and access data from anywhere; as long as there’s an internet connection.
The drawback of cloud storages is that accessing them solely relies on an internet connection. Without proper security measures, hackers can hack into your connection as you are signing into your account.
In a botnet attack, hackers take remote control of a user’s devices such as computers, printers, wearable devices and other systems. While in control, hackers manipulate the devices to carry out cyberattacks or collect sensitive user data in what is known as data harvesting.
5 effective security tools to secure your IoT devices
It is undeniable, that even with the existence of these risks IoT devices are necessities in our lives. Fortunately, several tools can help you to protect yourself.
A Virtual Private Network
As suggested in the name Virtual Private Network, a VPN creates a private tunnel for you to channel all your online traffic. This way, you are masked from any spies and intrusions within the network such as DoS attacks. This is especially important when you are on public networks where hackers can easily penetrate.
You can download a VPN application to secure all your devices through data encryption—a trustworthy VPN.
A password manager
Password guessing is one of the methods that hackers use whenever they are trying to make unauthorized access into an account. To stay safe, you should use complex passwords on your accounts and devices. Use different passwords for different accounts. If a hacker makes one correct guess, he is likely to try it on all your accounts.
You can use a password management tool to handle all the complex passwords. This is especially handy for people with multiple accounts. The password manager encrypts your passwords and fills them out automatically when you are logging in.
A cloud security tool
These tools provide security for all applications, data and files as they are migrated and stored into the cloud storages. The tools also detect and prevent any possible threat or unauthorized access that may attempt to compromise a user’s account.
Cloud security tools do not require any software installation; it’s a subscribed service that takes effect upon registration and payment of the service fee.
These tools monitor your network and send warning signs should there be a security vulnerability. A vulnerability scanner also ranks the upcoming risks in order of damage severity should an attack occur.
This way, you can attend to the priority areas first. After a vulnerability assessment, you get to understand more about the risks that are in your network environment; this from both an authenticated and unauthenticated scan.
Penetration testing tool
Penetration testing is also known as a pen test or ethical hacking. This tool helps in identifying any unknown weaknesses within a network infrastructure by attempting an exploit on them.
It maps out the weak security settings which an attacker can capitalize on. A penetration tester should be creative and try to think and act in the shoes of an attacker. The process should be thorough and well thought to bring out the laxity in all the areas that an attacker could prey on.
Antivirus is still a valid security tool in 2020, however, to stay ahead of malicious cyber-criminals, you need to combine it with the security tools discussed above.
This is the only way to protect your IoT devices, data and privacy in a world that has thousands of malicious people designing thousands of attacks.