Security measures to protect your IoT devices

Shahid Mansuri
© Shutterstock / Novikov Aleksey

The Internet of Things can offer unlimited possibilities; however, it can also open the door to unlimited risks. But why would somebody try to breach an IoT network?

We live in an era where everything from a tiny keychain to a refrigerator is connected to the internet. The Internet of Things, although sounds like the crazy, sci-fi technology you have been waiting for, can turn into an absolute nightmare if someone could get access to the network, and ultimately the device. In addition, machine-to-machine communications are prone to man-in-the-middle attack (MITM). Not to mention, cloud platforms have been breached in the past. “When you want to catch a thief, you must think like one”, is an old saying. So let’s find out why somebody would try to breach an IoT network.

Why IoT security matters

A prankster might want to change your refrigerator’s temperature setting to spoil your frost-cake. Someone might want to raise your thermostat’s temperature to an unprecedented level to roast you alive, does that sound scary? Or an evil firm trying to get access to the personal data generated by your IoT devices for commercial gain. Covert operators trying to listen to you with the mic connected to your smart tv after gaining access to it or the computer network it is connected to via an unscrupulous way. Not to mention, government surveillance department trying to break into your home network.

And don’t deceive yourself into thinking that you are not vulnerable to IoT attacks. 96% of security experts expect a rise in IoT breaches in following years.

SEE ALSO: Key factors IoT developers should keep in mind when selecting the right database

Why don’t we have universal IoT security solutions?

Conventional computing devices: desktops, servers and smartphones run on a handful of platforms, a standard IP-based network and have comparable computing abilities. Thus, they can rely on a traditional network security suite like an end-point security suite and firewall.

That’s not the case with IoT network security though. It is a bit more challenging than traditional network security because there is an endless number of communication protocols, standards, and device capabilities, all of which pose significant issues and increased complexity to develop a standard security solution.

So rather than relying on a standard security suite, IoT security relies upon securing the parameter, the storage, the platform and the communication between two devices or the internet gateway.

Network security

Endpoint security

The same endpoint security that protects the enterprise networks when accessed via a computing device such as a tablet, smartphone or a laptop, can protect IoT devices too. An IoT device will create a potential entry point for security threats and the endpoint security suite will filter them out.

Network firewall

A firewall is a network security system that filters in and out incoming and outgoing streams of network traffic based on a set of predefined security rules. A firewall creates a virtual barrier that separates trusted internal network from untrusted external network, such as the Internet to which IoT devices and other mobile and computing devices are connected to.

Network firewalls can be software based or hardware based. Most software security suites include a firewall with a predefined set of rules. However, software firewalls are easy to break into than hardware firewall. So, I would recommend the latter.

Device security

Hardware security modules (HSMs)

HSMs are used to protect the most penetrating IoT devices´ keys which are accessible centrally. The toughened, tamper-resistant setting works as a trust anchor to guard the cryptographic substructure of some of the most security-conscious establishments on planet Earth.

Key manager

A key manager authenticates IoT devices and monitors data exchanges taking place on cellular and non-cellular networks, such as LoRa, avoiding unsanctioned devices from connecting to the computer network. It makes way for a robust digital security over a trusted instrument of remote credential initiation, secure key provisioning, and application lifecycle management.

Communication security

End-to-end encryption

Encrypting stored data and those on a move, amid IoT edge devices and backend software system using usual cryptographic algorithms, help uphold data veracity and avert data sniffing by an intruder. The problem is an extensive array of IoT devices and hardware profiles limits the capability to have usual encryption processes and conventions.

Machine-to-machine authentication

In contrast with most enterprise networks where the validation methods involve an individual entering the credentials, many IoT authentication setups do not involve a person but machines on both sides making way for authentication methods that are machine-to-machine and do not need human intervention.

API security

Providing the capability to validate and sanction data movement amongst IoT devices, backend schemes, and apps employing standard RESTful APIs. API security will be critical for defending the integrity of data transiting between IoT devices and backend software infra to make sure that only sanctioned devices, certified developers, and trustworthy apps are collaborating with APIs as well as spotting possible threats and attacks against particular APIs.

Cloud security

Some key forms of threat originate from the enterprise or cloud environment that IoT-based smart devices are connected to. A solution for data encryption and cloud security offers an all-inclusive portfolio for cloud ecosystems and SMEs to protect their enterprise and cloud assets. A cloud-based licensing and entitlement solution aids fast-moving technology firms leverage on the full potential of the cloud environment, making sure their intellectual property is safe.


Shahid Mansuri

Shahid Mansuri co-founded Peerbits, a mobile app development company in the USA, in 2011. His visionary leadership and flamboyant management style have yield fruitful results for the company. He believes in sharing his strong knowledge base with leaned concentration on entrepreneurship and business.

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3 years ago

The best you can do is connect with a vpn and get a extra layer for security. I prefer using PureVPN to stay safe, private and moreover with their dedicated ip vpn I can get stability on all the devices because it will give me same ip location every time I use it.