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IoT Security Best Practices for 2021: 3 approaches



IoT security challenges in emerging technologies

By 2025, analysts predict that the Internet of things (IoT) will cover roughly 20 billion connected devices. The new emerging technology is becoming a reality everywhere  from Industry 4.0 to autonomous vehicles roaming the open road. This is changing how enterprises collect, exchange, analyze and extrapolate vast amounts of data to gather insights on essentially everything. From understanding consumer behavior and improving business efficiencies to reducing operational costs and enhancing overall workplace safety, IoT data is enabling organizations to do more. 

The scale of IoT is unprecedent – but so are the cybersecurity threats it leaves open. The surface area for attacks has expanded dramatically over the last decade, with unprotected, unpatchable gadgets that have given cybercriminals the opportunity to hack,compromise and control devices.

Vulnerable connected devices have been exploited to attack national state surveillanceto bring down some of the biggest websitesincluding PayPal, Spotify and Twitter via DDOS attacks (Mirai), and to paralyze one fifth of the world’s shipping capacity using ransomware (NotPetya). The future holds many new threats and Gartner predicts that, by 2022, IoT security attacks due to lack of insight into edge and third-party device providers will increase by 35%. (Source: Gartner: Predicts 2019: Infrastructure Services. Updated on April 2020, published Dec 2018.)  

When companies embark upon their IoT journey, they soon realize there is no silver bullet nor one-time effort to make IoT devices completely safe. However, we believe there are three important security approaches companies need to consider to mitigate the risks.

1. Prevent security breaches by enhancing IoT device security 

Securing endpoints is essential because the attack surface grows with each new deployment. Unlike phones and computers, which are often regarded as secure and trusted, IoT devices are more challenging to protectIoT assets range across a huge variety of different types of non-standard devices with limited on-board security capabilities. These devices are often shipped with vulnerabilities and might not be supported with new patches from vendors throughout the intended device lifecycle, allowing hackers to launch inconspicuous attacks. For companies to secure IoT devicesthere are some best practices organizations must employ:

Security hygiene  Inadequate employee security routines account for a large chunk of security breaches. In fact, 50% of security breaches are caused mainly or partly by human error according to Næringslivet sikkerhetsråd’s survey. IoT devices are no exception, but many of these breaches can be mitigated by creating solid security hygiene routines.

IoT Blind spots – Unmanaged devices in networks have been expanding vulnerable blind spots, as it is difficult to defend networks without visibility into these devices. To decrease this risk, companies should separate the main network from the IoT network in order to isolate these devices and ensure comprehensive visibility of the corporate network.

2. Understand data and apply data protection

Research from Zscaler shows that 91.5 % of transactional data from IoT devices contained plaintext, which means that hackers could intercept, read and manipulate unencrypted data – and then send it back unnoticed. Therefore, protecting the physical device that stores and processes data is just one part of preventing cybercriminals from obtaining sensitive dataThe other part is about protecting the data journey, when data is at-rest, in-transit or in-use across the different entities in the IoT value chain. This means that all parties involved in the value chain must ensure intruders cannot observe and manipulate data – thus avoiding the possibly fatal outcomes of these breachesJust consider the consequences of security lapses for sensitive applications like heart monitors in healthcare and self-driving cars when securing data across all its stages. Here are some simple pro-active steps to take to keep data safe:

3. Take holistic approach to IoT security (people, process and technology)

Securing devices and the data itself is just part of the equation. To secure the whole IoT solution, companies must strive for a holistic approach to security that accounts for technologies, people and processesThere are some key approaches to consider when securing end-to-end IoT solutions: 

End-to-end ecosystem security – the IoT security environment must be managed and orchestrated both horizontally (device to end-user service) and vertically (hardware to applications), and this includes the ecosystem of collaborators like device manufacturers, network providers, platform providers, app developers and end-users. 

Organizational alignment of IoT security – The ownership and responsibility of the different parts of the IoT value chain can be quite scattered, so the dilemma of who is accountable for what naturally arises. For manufacturing companies IoT solution can for example involve an OT operational group, the IT department and the security department, each of which separately owns tools and processes to manage security. This can result in a siloed approach to security, with data seen out of context and complex internal processes. There are multiple ways for organizations to achieve alignment around security:  

As IoT mass-adoption is yet to come, many companies are still in a great position to prepare and undertake continuous efforts to combat threats. These efforts will demand a focus on people, processes, and new security technologies. 

Contact us to enhance your edge IoT security.

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Precision agriculture using AI and IoT to usher in the next revolution in food security



Micromanagement of every aspect of the field being used for your crops is called precision agriculture. It includes mapping of the field in terms of disparities within the field or with other fields around it, the sun light variation across the year, wind patterns, rain predictions and other seasonal effects. To do that, feed from weather stations, Remote sensing equipment, GIS and GPS may be used.

Another key feature of precision farming is having a trained software module on the specific crop being planned in that field. This software module has an understanding about the growth patterns of that crop, possible diseases that are related to that crop, prescriptions of specific fertilizer or pesticides depending upon the disease pattern, and prediction of disease depending upon the growth of leaves or size or colour of the plant.

It uses feed sensors, weight sensors, soil sensors, temperature sensors, intensity sensors and multiple types of cameras. All these sensors may be deployed on a machine. This machine can be a low flying drone or a small robot moving through the field. Based on the crop and the size of the plants, the robot height and size can be manoeuvred. This robot or drone will have multiple compartments full of different ingredients required for the plants. One box may contain water, another may have pesticides, another may have fertilizer and so on. Based on the real feedback of different sensors, the software module will process that information according to the trained AI model installed on that robot or drone. Depending upon the necessary trigger, instructions will follow, and the robot will discharge specific amount of pesticides or fertilizer or water etc.

This whole mechanism may look like a complex process for small and medium level farmers, but that is not the case. Just like farmers currently hire big machines for sowing and cutting the crops, they will be able to hire different kinds of robots for their specific crops. Initially the cost will be high, but eventually, when this becomes a standard practice, the cost will come down with volume and scale.

The end user will not be required to understand or learn about these complex systems. They will just employ these systems like we use washing machines without understanding the mechanical engineering behind their working. The farmer will only need to follow some simple and clear instructions and press a few buttons.

While its execution will be simple, the advantages of precision farming are many and varied. End-to-end efficiency and decrease in wastage/loss of the yield due to disease etc will lead to an increase in crop-yield. Another advantage is the huge saving in inputs: currently, farmers waste a lot of water, pesticides, and fertilizers because these are thrown all over the field, a significant portion of which is not used by the plants. With robots in the field, only the required resources will be given near the roots of the plants, which will save a lot of resources. It will also result in a lot of data inputs across the fields, regions, and geographies, which will result in better policy decision regarding which crops to be promoted, pricing of the output, availability of markets for the produce, value enhancement products in the food chain etc.

Many people may be worried about the impact of such technologies on the job market for agriculture workers. It will result in net additional jobs in this sector. Many hands will be required for maintenance, operations, storage, production, marketing of these variety of robots and drones. The only challenge is that existing agriculture workers will be required to undergo training to work on these modern machines, which will require huge efforts on the part of the trainers as well as the farmers. So, in conclusion precision farming is going to be the next big thing in the domain of agriculture which will have significant impact on economy, food reliance and modern society.




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IoT Security In The Spotlight, As Research Highlights Alexa Security Flaws | Information Security Buzz



Last week, IoT security was in the spotlight again as researchers warned that Amazon’s Alexa is vulnerable to malicious third-party apps, or “skills”, that could leave owners at risk of a wide range of cyberattacks.

Researchers analyzed 90,194 unique skills from Amazon’s skill stores across seven countries and found widespread security issues that could lead to phishing attacks or the ability to trick Alexa users into revealing sensitive information.

For instance, developers can register skills that fraudulently use well-known company names, and leverage these fake brand names to send out phishing emails that link to the skill’s Amazon store webpage. Attackers can also make code changes after their skills have been approved by Amazon, opening the door for various malicious configurations.

VP of IoT
Best-practices for IoT device security include strong authentication and secure software updates.

Continued innovation in the Internet of Things technology has propelled us into the Fourth Industrial Revolution and is undoubtedly valuable for consumers and businesses alike.

However, as this research into Alexa’s vulnerabilities has shown, we can’t be oblivious to the security risks that go hand-in-hand with introducing such a large number of devices into the ecosystem. Left unchecked, this presents a huge security risk. While there are many potential threats to IoT devices, a common


Continued innovation in the Internet of Things technology has propelled us into the Fourth Industrial Revolution and is undoubtedly valuable for consumers and businesses alike.

However, as this research into Alexa’s vulnerabilities has shown, we can’t be oblivious to the security risks that go hand-in-hand with introducing such a large number of devices into the ecosystem. Left unchecked, this presents a huge security risk. While there are many potential threats to IoT devices, a common thread in IoT security weakness is the lack of strong authentication.

As attack vectors continue to evolve, it is increasingly critical that organizations embrace security solutions that ensure the integrity and security of their IoT systems. Best-practices for IoT device security include strong authentication and secure software updates – ensuring only authentic code can be installed on the device. For a complex system such as Alexa’s Skills that involve the Alexa platform, third-party apps and third-party cloud services – a comprehensive approach to ensuring the security of the ecosystem is essential.

@Alan Grau, VP of IoT , provides expert commentary for “dot your expert comments” at @Information Security Buzz.
“Best-practices for IoT device security include strong authentication and secure software updates….”
#infosec #cybersecurity #isdots

@Alan Grau, VP of IoT , provides expert commentary for “dot your expert comments” at @Information Security Buzz.
“Best-practices for IoT device security include strong authentication and secure software updates….”
#infosec #cybersecurity #isdots

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Is Biden’s Peloton Bike an IoT Cybersecurity Risk? – Security Boulevard



Is Every Connected Device in a Staffer’s Home an IoT Cybersecurity Risk?

Most folks are still working from home at least some of the time. That creates a number of challenges for IT departments around cybersecurity and smart devices. As our lives become ever more connected to the internet through everything from smartphones to smart bikes, it’s important to remember that even the most humble internet-connected device can be a security risk. Many business IT teams are still coming to terms with that increased Internet-of-Things (IoT) cybersecurity risk and how to mitigate it.

If Cybersecurity is Like a Game, Shouldn’t You Play to Win? Here’s How to Do It.

IoT Devices (and Risks) Are Proliferating

During the last year, as we all spent more time at home, many folks discovered that they could make their home lives a little more pleasant with IoT devices. Experts estimate that more than 26.66 billion IoT devices are active in 2020, with 127 new IoT devices connecting to the internet every second. However, researchers also report that IoT devices face 5,200 attacks a month. That means that organizations need to keep IoT security top of mind as their security posture evolves.

Including the White House. The original work from home example, the President’s House is also home to one of the world’s most secure and sensitive networks. As new First Families with an increasing number of IoT devices move in, like President Biden and his Peloton bike, the White House cybersecurity team is faced with the same dilemma as many businesses: how to secure their IT environment against the potential risk.

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How to Mitigate the Risk

In the case of the President’s bike, the Secret Service and the National Security Agency (NSA) will make changes to both the physical structure and the IT capability as well as enacting strong access control policies and tools in order to mitigate the risk. Cameras and microphones will be removed, and a constant series of password changes will help blunt the possibility of foreign agents hacking into President Biden’s Peloton. This tracks with the advice given by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

But most companies don’t need to go that far when securing their environments against IoT risks. Businesses can keep their networks safe and employees can enjoy their IoT devices without taking drastic measures or spending a fortune. While cybercrime risks continue to climb across the board, by taking sensible precautions, organizations can secure their systems and data from many of the pitfalls that arise from remote working IoT cybersecurity risks quickly and affordably.

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One key to mitigating IoT risk and remaining cyber resilient as an organization is maintaining strong access point control. It’s not just a fantastic mitigation for IoT risk either. Strong access point control is essential for mitigating all types of cybersecurity risk – and secure identity and access management with a solution like Passly is an effective, cost-effective way to implement it in a flash.

Passly brings major weapons against intrusion to the fight with multifactor authentication (MFA), single sign-on (SSO), and secure shared password vaults. MFA is a must-have in today’s rapidly evolving threat landscape – it has been proven to block up to 99.9% of common cyberattacks from getting through to business systems. Back that up with single sign-on that empowers your IT team to add and remove permissions fast in case of compromise and secure shared password vaults to make sure that your team can easily respond to emergencies remotely, and you’ve added a huge amount of security strength for a small price.

Contact ID Agent’s experts today to add Passly to your security stack or watch a video of Passly in action to see why it’s perfect for every business.

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