Data Security in the IoT Universe, Part 1: Infection Prevention

by | Nov 15, 2018 | Cloud Computing, IT Security

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As homes and businesses get smarter, data security is at greater risk.
Did you know cyber attacks can happen over your bluetooth devices? Know what to do to prevent infection.

The “Internet of Things,” the popular shorthand name given to the growing list of appliances, machines, and devices that connect to the internet and to each other, is becoming more familiar to the general public as more people purchase these devices of convenience. Back in 2012 Pablos Holman (self-styled “Futurist, Inventor, Notorious Hacker”) gave a TED talk about this very thing when he said, “Your car is now a PC. Your phone is also a PC. Your toaster, if it is not a PC, soon will be.” Six years later, your toaster may still not be routed into the internet, but practically everything else is. Since each device is interconnected with other systems, each device is another bit of network that must be made secure if the whole system is to be secure.

Why IoT Data Security Vulnerabilities are Major Threats: An Analogy

IoT vulnerabilities are so malicious because they are so easy to overlook. We do not imagine that someone could hack into our climate control system and get access to the identity and billing information of our clients. Unfortunately they can, and they do.

Once in, they’re in. In the same sense that we might carry a virus in our bodies before the symptoms appear, we can carry to work our malware-infected smartphones and not even know it.

It’s impossible to be aware of all the potential connections between our various devices and our various networks without implementing network protection solutions. By 2020 Cisco projects, “there will be 30 billion devices connected to the internet.” To this Cisco adds, “Connected devices are becoming a primary target for cyber-attacks.” Hackers thrive on overlooked connections, and the Internet of Things creates an endless playground of possibilities for breaching major network systems. In this environment, without proper protection, a hacker’s virus could become epidemic. Watch this Anatomy of an IoT Attack to see what we mean.

Keeping Infection Out

Just like a combination of Lysol, Vitamin C mega doses, and conditioning people to cough into their elbows will help prevent an outbreak of an infectious disease, there are protocols and phases of address that can prevent malware invasion into a data system.

Keeping infection out of a network means making it hard to penetrate that network at every point it interacts with the “outside.”

  1. Devices belonging to the network need to be protected no matter where they go and what they do. Products like Cisco Umbrella  can do this.
  2. The network has to be able to scan every file and email accessed by all users. Otherwise a bad file can gain a toehold into a network and wreak havoc on the whole system. Preventing this requires advanced malware protection. Cisco’s AMP is made to address this.
  3. A business network must also be protected from the personal devices that users bring to work with them. Malware on an employee’s smart phone can infect the moment the smartphone links with the wireless at the office. Cisco Firepower Next-Generation Firewall protects the network from all foreign devices linking into a system.

Call Secure Networkers at (281) 651.2254 with your questions. Our job is to help you select a network defense solution that will keep your business healthy and at the peak of performance.

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