There are a lot of “smart” devices out there—over 35 billion and counting—and more and more are being connected to the Internet all the time. These endpoints, often called the Internet of Things, are known as vulnerabilities to hackers, as most devices don’t offer the type of comprehensive security that they need to keep from being problematic. What might surprise you, however, is that the primary exploit comes from devices that ironically are thought of as security devices: The ones found in a smart home.
Before the pandemic, people were beginning to use smart technology at their desks at work to help facilitate efficiency with their day-to-day workflow, but as more people started to work remotely, smart devices were all around workers. These IoT devices became some of the most utilized technologies, and hackers, who almost always pay attention to computing trends, have started to take advantage. This is easier to do when workers are working from home and aren’t covered by enterprise security tools that businesses typically utilize to keep their networks secure.
The cybersecurity researchers at Kaspersky found that through the first half of 2021, there were 1.5 billion cyber attacks aimed at IoT devices; about double the amount from the first half of 2020. Kaspersky believes that the immense uptick in cyberattacks on IoT devices has more to do with the prevalence of remote workers than it does with the immense growth in the IoT space, although both play a factor. The increased use of Virtual Private Networks (VPN), a traditionally useful tool to encrypt data sent over unsecured networks, are giving hackers a path to DDoS the connections and exploit misconfigured gateways. That’s not to say that the VPN isn’t an awesome tool, but if it isn’t set up properly it is like any other misconfigured software, waiting to be breached.
Now that many people are starting to come back to the office at least part time, it is important that your IT administrators understand that by giving hackers and potential intruders more avenues of attack, they are making their own jobs much, much harder. That’s why our experts always preach that the simpler a network setup, especially one that holds your business’ most sensitive information, is the way to go.
If your company has begun to implement smart thermostats, appliances, security systems, or any other IoT device that could have some value, you will want to partition your network to insulate your business’ regular data flow from these systems. That way you have the firewall between your computing data and network and the systems that are integrated for convenience or for function, but may be low-hanging fruit for hackers looking to steal or expose its digital assets.
You need to be cognizant that any unsecured endpoint on your network—whether it is a workstation or a smart toaster—can be exploited. At Computerware our experts not only set up networks securely so that your business’ data isn’t at risk, our technicians monitor networks to ensure that your business isn’t actively being attacked. Give us a call at (703) 821-8200 today to learn more about how we can help you tighten your business’ cybersecurity.