IoT security threats and how to handle them

Yes, your smartwatch should scare you, but so should industrial-grade IoT

IoT security hero image

Smart TVs in conference rooms. Brainy heating and air-conditioning systems. Internet-connected light bulbs. Intelligent devices controlling manufacturing processes. Smart watches and fitness devices everywhere.

These are just a few of the things you’ll find in the enterprise Internet of Things (IoT) landscape, a landscape in which almost every physical object, it seems, has plenty of smarts and connects to networks -- and leaves enterprises vulnerable to hacks and data breaches.

The issue of IoT and security had its moment in the sun in July, when two hackers remotely took control of a Jeep Cherokee that was driving at 70 miles an hour on the highway. They wirelessly turned the wipers on and off, turned the air conditioning to full blast, switched the radio to a different station, and then disabled the transmission so the Jeep slowed to a crawl on an interstate highway.

The hack was done to publicize the IoT dangers faced by cars, and it had its effect -- 1.4 million vehicles were eventually recalled and had their systems patched.

Unfortunately, the issues around IoT security and the enterprise can’t be as easily resolved as recalling autos and patching their computing systems. The big questions for enterprises are: How (in)secure is the enterprise because of the IoT devices spread throughout businesses? How easily can they be used to hack into company networks? And what can enterprises do to protect themselves?

In this article, we’ll look at the dangers, identify the most significant ones and offer advice to IT on how to protect against them.

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