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12 IoT Cyber Security Challenges

Many companies continue to adopt IoT devices to improve productivity. Internet of Things (IoT) provides remarkable efficiency in business operations. 

Companies that adopt the use of IoT have to face security challenges that come with these devices. A slight possibility of a security breach in IoT devices exposes your whole business to cyber-attacks. 

When IoT devices are compromised, they become a gateway for malicious activity in a company’s network. Such activities can cause damage to systems and disrupt business operations. Here are cyber security challenges and measures that companies need to consider.

Malware Attack

When attackers distribute malware, they access company assets or sensitive information. Hackers can take advantage of IoT vulnerabilities to attack businesses. 

A malware attack can cause Distributed-Denial-of-Service (DDOS). This can happen through IoT devices and open ports in your company. 

An attack like malware distribution is a serious problem, and installing an antivirus alone is not enough. Performing network segmentation can help to prevent the spread of malware.

Legacy Systems

When using IoT devices, ensure the operating system is current. IoT devices running on operating systems that manufacturers no longer support can be risky. 

Such devices expose your business to cyberattacks. Hackers can use the exposure to gain access to your systems and cause damage. 

A solution is to ensure NERC CIP compliance on all your IoT devices. These standards help to reduce risk and protect your IoT devices against compromise. NERC standards have 12 critical protection requirements, including training employees and a recovery plan. These requirements involve identifying loss of assets, compromise, or misuse. 

The standards require you to have a security management control that is reliable and consistent. Having these standards ensures IoT devices in your company are well-protected.

Overwriting Memory

Attackers can gain access to a company’s system and force IoT devices to overwrite memory. When this happens, it impairs the functionality of such devices. This causes a Denial-of-Service (DOS) attack. 

A DOS causes downtime and losses to businesses. Companies should ensure attackers do not have access to IoT devices. 

Security measures like password authentication should be put in place to limit unauthorized access. Good backup systems enable business continuity in case an attack occurs.

Reach out to OT security vendors that provide security controls to OT environments. Such controls help in vulnerability monitoring and event log management. When there is a vulnerability or attack it can be handled quickly.

Access and Exposure to Sensitive Information

Companies store sensitive information like customer’s personal data. Criminals can take advantage of unpatched IoT vulnerabilities to access such confidential data. 

For example, an attacker can execute a remote code that can expose such information. Attackers can execute codes that corrupt program files or lock important data. 

Some hackers will ask for money before unlocking your information. Others can sell data to competitors or interested people. 

Companies should identify computers that process sensitive information and reinforce security. There should be limited access to such computers. Employees should only access information that is relevant to their work.

Insecure Booting Process

A booting process involves following a sequence of steps during software installation. Some manufacturers perform permanent booting processes on IoT devices. 

This offers security to the devices, but it also means you cannot perform a software update. In case of a vulnerability, the device becomes a security risk. Cybercriminals can run malicious codes using such vulnerable IoT devices. 

To overcome this challenge, enable a secure booting process. Set the secure booting as default.

Open Communication Ports

Open Communication Ports

IoT devices share data with other devices using communication ports. Cybercriminals look for such open ports to gain privileged access to company systems. They can execute commands on your system and access important information. 

Companies should ensure IoT communication ports are secure. No unauthorized physical access to IoT communication ports should be allowed. IoT devices in your company should only communicate with other authorized devices.

Unencrypted Traffic

Most IoT device traffic is not encrypted. It means insecure devices send confidential information. 

When sensitive information is not encrypted, it attracts attackers. The attackers intercept it using methods like eavesdropping. Sensitive information in the hands of attackers can cause damage to a business.

Businesses should make sure sensitive data is safe online. Encrypt all networks that IoT devices use to send information.

Unencrypted Software Updates

Unencrypted Software Updates

Some new versions of IoT devices allow software updates. When performing a patch installation, the software code is unencrypted. This makes the updating process insecure. 

An unencrypted code can attract malicious attackers. A hacker can change IoT code and interfere with IoT device operations. A security measure that companies can consider is using an encrypted network during software updates.

Weak Passwords

Manufactures set default passwords on IoT devices. When a company purchases such devices, they should create new and strong passwords. 

Some companies forget to change weak passwords making IoT devices susceptible to attacks. Enacting authentication policies to keep systems safe can help companies solve this problem. 

IoT Security Visibility

IoT devices are distributed throughout a company. This can make security visibility a challenge. Capturing information from such devices becomes difficult. 

A solution to managing device security is understanding event logs. Looking at IoT event logs can help you detect abnormalities.

Third-Party Software

IoT devices come with other third-party software, such as libraries. Such software might have security issues that can put your device at risk. A company should test third-party suppliers before buying IoT devices.

Inability to Track IoT Devices

Connecting IoT devices to your network enables you to track them. Sometimes malicious attackers can put fake devices in your network. This makes it difficult to track and manage your IoT devices. 

Strengthening asset management in a company enables you to control IoT devices. Tracking your devices allows you to notice any abnormalities. You will be able to see any fake devices on your network.

IoT Cybersecurity Best Practices

Companies continue to use IoT devices to carry out critical business processes. Having security measures in place enables business continuity in case of an attack. For example, segregating IoT networks can prevent hackers from accessing your systems.

Implementing best practices secures company assets, saves time, and money. Cybersecurity best practices can be as follows.

Authentication and Encryption Policies

These are straightforward policies that companies can enforce. Authenticatication involves identity and access-management.  

Encryption involves using tools to encrypt the information before sending it. These measures make it difficult for attackers to get access to sensitive information. 

System Updates

Update all IoT device software. Avoid using legacy systems that are vulnerable to cyberattacks. Regular maintenance can help identify devices that need system updates.

Key Takeaway

Cyber security challenges need effective countermeasures to keep your business safe. Identifying IoT device security issues and measures is critical to protecting business assets. Implementing these measures enables companies to address security breaches that cause data loss. 


Devising cybersecurity best practices are essential steps in staying one step ahead of cybercriminals.

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