How to Secure IoT Devices: 10 Ways to Securely Protect Them

By: Valerii Haidarzhy, 25 Jul 2023
6   min read
Reading Time: 6 minutes

IoT technology has revolutionized our daily lives and workplaces by providing unparalleled interconnectivity, productivity, and convenience. However, the proliferation of IoT devices also brings about increasing security challenges. According to a report by Cybersecurity Ventures, cybercrime is expected to cost the world $10.5 trillion annually by 2025, up from $6 trillion in 2021. Additionally, Gartner predicts that by 2024, more than 75% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside a traditional data center or cloud, emphasizing the importance of IoT device security. In this article, we will examine the risks posed by cybercriminals and discuss methods to protect IoT devices.

Why Do Hackers Want to Get Access to Your IoT Devices?

The surge in IoT technologies has made them an attractive target for cybercriminals, as they can offer access to personal and business data. Additionally, many IoT devices possess inadequate security features, leaving them vulnerable to cyberattacks. Hackers can exploit these weaknesses for various malicious purposes. Understanding how to protect IoT devices from hackers begins with understanding the goals that they may pursue.

– Data theft: 

By infiltrating IoT systems, cybercriminals can obtain confidential details like login credentials, financial records, and private communications.

– Initiating DDoS assaults: 

Hackers can use breached IoT tools to form botnets and launch massive DDoS attacks, which can interrupt online services and result in significant monetary and reputational losses.

– Covert monitoring: 

IoT gadgets with cameras and microphones can be manipulated by cybercriminals to secretly listen in on conversations and track activities without the owner’s consent.

– Ransomware campaigns: 

Attackers can lock users out of their IoT devices or encrypt their information, demanding a ransom to regain access.

– Sabotaging critical infrastructure:

Cybercriminals can exploit compromised IoT devices to disrupt essential services and systems, such as power grids, transportation networks, or healthcare facilities, leading to severe consequences for public safety and well-being.

10 Ways to Secure Your IoT Devices

It is very important to implement comprehensive security measures, including IoT device protection options, to safeguard against unauthorized access and data breaches. The subsequent strategies offer detailed guidance on fortifying IoT security, ensuring resilience against potential threats.

1. Use strong, unique passwords

To understand how to make IoT devices more secure, it’s important to recognize that these devices can be susceptible to unauthorized access if equipped with default or weak passwords. To address this, create strong, unique passwords by combining uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Regularly updating these passwords further minimizes the chances of unauthorized entry. For even greater security, consider utilizing a password manager to generate and securely store intricate passwords.

2. Enable encryption

Securing data transmitted between IoT devices and the internet is essential for protection against snooping and interference. Utilize safe communication protocols such as HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) and TLS (Transport Layer Security) to preserve the privacy and accuracy of your data.

3. Implement two-factor authentication (2FA)

Two-factor authentication significantly helps to improve the security of IoT devices by necessitating a supplementary authentication step, such as a text message code or biometric input, in conjunction with a password. By implementing 2FA for IoT appliances and their corresponding accounts, you create a more robust defense against cybercriminals, making it increasingly challenging for them to breach the system and access sensitive information.

4. Keep your equipment updated

Regularly updating the software and firmware of your IoT devices helps address security weaknesses and improve functionality. Manufacturers commonly release fixes and updates for identified vulnerabilities, so it’s important to promptly apply these changes. Activate automatic updates when available, or consistently check for and install updates manually if needed.

5. Restrict network access

By segmenting your network, you can effectively separate IoT devices from other systems, reducing the risk of malware propagation and minimizing potential harm in the event of a security breach. Adjust your network settings to allow only necessary hardware interactions and implement firewalls to keep out unwanted traffic. This added layer of security helps protect your IoT ecosystem and ensures a safer connected environment.

6. Disable unnecessary features

Turning off unnecessary functions and services on your IoT devices helps reduce the potential avenues for cybercriminals to exploit. Aspects like remote management, Universal Plug and Play (UPnP), and inactive ports can create security gaps if left operational. Thoroughly assess your IoT devices’ capabilities and disable any features that are not vital to your specific use case, further strengthening against potential attacks.

7. Implement hardware-level security measures

Incorporating security features at the hardware level, like secure boot and hardware-assisted encryption significantly improves the safety of IoT devices. Secure boot guarantees only legitimate software execution by checking digital signatures during startup. Hardware-assisted encryption safeguards critical data stored on devices, reducing the likelihood of unauthorized access and data compromise, further fortifying your IoT ecosystem. Here is what experts in on-chip security solutions say about hardware-level security measures: 

At Alif Semiconductor, we are offering the most secure 32-bit microcontroller available today, providing multiple layers of defense against rogue software attacks and hardware attacks. This includes an isolated secure enclave (separate dedicated core, Secure Debug, memory, key management), a hardware-based Root of Trust, and TrustZone + which is expanded to handle multiple CPU cores. These features, combined, offer an integrated and robust security solution that protects IoT devices from the ground up.

© Steve Pancoast, VP Software & Systems Engineering at Alif Semiconductor.

8. Regularly monitor and audit systems activity

Continuous surveillance of IoT device operations can aid in identifying security risks or intrusions as they occur. Establish notifications for abnormal behavior, including unauthorized access attempts, unanticipated data transfers, or irregular network traffic. Periodic examination of device logs also assists in detecting security concerns and confirming that your IoT systems are operating as expected.

9. Secure physical access

When considering how to secure your IoT devices in terms of physical integrity, it’s recommended that you keep them in a secure location, use hardware that is resistant to tampering, and restrict access to only authorized personnel. By taking these measures, you can effectively prevent unauthorized entry, tampering, or theft of your IoT devices, thereby guaranteeing their safety.

10. Examine and evaluate third-party services and integrations

Before integrating third-party services into your IoT network, carefully examine their security measures and track record in managing sensitive data. Conduct detailed evaluations to confirm their adherence to security best practices. By restricting the number of third-party integrations, you can decrease the likelihood of security vulnerabilities and reduce potential attack vectors, ultimately enhancing the overall security of your IoT ecosystem.

How Can Sirin Software Help?

Are you seeking the best ways to secure IoT solutions? Sirin Software is the perfect ally in navigating the ever-evolving security hurdles in the IoT domain. Our skilled professionals assist in crafting solid security plans, establishing essential protective measures, and guaranteeing the safety and dependability of your information. Our track record of successful projects speaks for itself, so when you work with us, rest assured that you are collaborating with the best in the business.

In 2023, Sirin Software became a member of Microsoft’s Firmware Security Partner Network by embracing Microsoft’s Defender for IoT products early on.
Utilizing this advanced technology, we can now conduct firmware scans that reveal previously undiscovered insights and detect potential problems before they lead to security breaches. This approach further strengthens the security of our clients’ hardware products.
Our work on a new generation of consumer smartwatches is a prime illustration of our competence. This initiative raised connection requirements while also addressing IoT security concerns. We have proven our ability to offer secure and reliable IoT solutions that guarantee enhanced location tracking, reduced power consumption, and global interoperability. Join forces with us for services that are industry-leading.

Conclusion

The widespread adoption of IoT necessitates effective security measures and user awareness in learning how to secure and protect IoT devices. By implementing comprehensive strategies, collaborating with experienced professionals like Sirin Software, and investing in IoT security, you can protect your data from unauthorized access and threats. To promote safety, it’s important to educate users on strong passwords, regular updates, and phishing identification. Consistent training and fostering a security-aware culture empower users to take responsibility, making them valuable assets in mitigating IoT security risks.

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