The Internet of Things (IoT) provides access to a tremendous amount of critical data. Therefore, a holistic approach to security must focus not only on protecting the infrastructure but also on the appropriate management of both the people and the machines with access to critical data and intellectual property.
The combination of Industry 4.0 devices and sensors ensures more efficient processes and processes in companies. At the same time, the networked components are an attractive target for cybercriminals, as they are often not adequately protected or monitored.
The goal of hacker attacks on the IoT devices could be broad. Not only seeking data or financial reward, attacks on IoT could disrupt the infrastructure, steal credentials, inject malware into systems, or bring down unprotected networks.
In particular, companies that use sensors for production, logistics processes and supply chains must regard these as important infrastructure components and adequately protect them.
The IoT provides access to intellectual property as well as personal or process-related data. IoT security should always consider three aspects:
- the protection of IoT devices,
- the growing scope of IoT systems, and thirdly,
- the data used and transmitted by IoT devices.
If a device is hacked, it must not open an attack vector for other systems. It is important to understand how humans and machines interact with data, when and why dthe ata is accessed, and how it is processed or analysed.
Protect corporate data in the IoT
With the right software solutions, illegal or dangerous activities in the company network can be detected, predicted and prevented. Since the behaviour follows certain patterns in criminal acts as well as in endangering user activities, User Behaviour Analytics can be used to set up an automatic early-warning system that detects anomalous behaviour - regardless of intention - and thus offers the possibility of prevention.
The solution learns by automated baselining a normal state for the behaviour known. Additional parameters for normal behaviour can be added by the company to refine the analysis.
If the system then detects any unusual behaviour, it notifies them in good time so that companies can act to contain the risk and prevent the migration of data.
The threat of attacks on IoT devices is not theoretical
For hackers, it is easy to identify a point of attack because of the increasing number of linked devices. In October 2016, one of the largest Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks became known. This was done via a botnet made entirely of hacked IoT devices.
For example, IoT hacks on networks of smart factories can disrupt or interrupt production processes: Hackers, for example, could manipulate the cold chain by increasing the storage temperature in order to harm the company as a result of the resulting loss of production.
Even a lack of manipulation protection in smart electricity meters can, for example, lead to a systematically induced, large-scale power failure.
Overall, an increasing number of IoT hacks can be expected in the future, because the larger the number of available devices, the more diverse the possibilities for a successful attack. There is already a growing volume of IoT malware.
Christo van Staden is Forcepoint Regional Manager: Sub-Saharan Africa
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