Can IoT devices be hacked?

Introduction: Can IoT devices be hacked? Internet of Things (IoT) security is becoming increasingly important in the big picture of cyber security.

While cybersecurity seeks to save Internet-connected systems from cyber threats, IoT security is about protecting connected devices. IoT refers to a method of physical devices or hardware that receives and transmits data over networks without human intervention. 

A typical IoT system continuously sends, acquires, and analyzes data in a feedback loop. If you’ve heard something called “smart,” that usually refers to the IoT. Common consumer use cases include smartphones, smart watches, smart homes, and self-driving cars.

Like any connected technology, IoT devices can be vulnerable to hacking if not adequately secured. While IoT devices offer convenience and enhanced functionality, they also introduce new risks to privacy and security. Let’s know Can IoT devices be hacked? If yes then why?

Can IoT devices be hacked?

Can IoT devices be hacked?

Sooner or later, all computing devices may succumb to hacking attempts. When asked if IoT devices can be hacked, this is the go-to answer in the security industry. Of course, this answer does not consider the details of the target and the attacker.

The Internet of Things has taken over the consumer world, creating a vast market that continues to grow. While the gadgets have grown in popularity, professionals have warned about their insecure state since the beginning. However, the threat they pose suddenly became a worldwide reality when the Mirai Botnet hit launched denial-of-service attacks in September 2016.

These days, reports of compromised IoT devices come in a steady stream, alerting readers to new vulnerabilities and malware exploiting old bugs to create an army of hacked smart systems.

New ways to bypass security in connected products have also been researched, exposing design or development flaws that a malicious individual could exploit.

So, yes, IoT devices can be hacked. The answer to whether a successful attack can be launched against a particular target may vary. Given sufficient time, though, a skilled, determined hacker with physical or hidden access to an Internet of Things system can find a way to compromise it. This method may also be practical.

However, consumer devices are typically the target of less experienced or slower attackers, so a different risk model applies to you. A few steps can reduce the risk and make your connected systems too much effort for an attacker.

Often, it is sufficient to keep the device from being exposed to the web. If exposure is unavoidable, these precautions help reduce the likelihood of a successful attack.

 Here are some critical points regarding IoT device hacking:

Vulnerabilities: IoT devices can have vulnerabilities due to weak or default passwords, outdated firmware or software, insecure network connections, or lack of encryption. Hackers can exploit these vulnerabilities to acquire unauthorized access to the device or its network.

Data Privacy: IoT devices often collect and transmit sensitive data, such as personal information or behavioral patterns. If a hacker gains control of an IoT device, they may be able to access this data, leading to privacy breaches, identity theft, or other malicious activities.

Botnets: IoT devices can be recruited into botnets, networks of compromised devices controlled by hackers. These botnets can launch large-scale attacks, such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) invasions, which can overwhelm targeted websites or networks.

Physical Risks: Certain IoT devices, such as connected cars or medical devices, can pose physical risks if hacked. For example, a compromised connected car could be remotely controlled, posing a danger to the occupants or other road users.

Home Network Security: Many IoT devices are connected to the home network, which means that a single compromised device can serve as an entry point for hackers to infiltrate other devices or access the network itself.

Lack of Security Updates: Some IoT devices may not receive regular security updates or patches from the manufacturer, exposing them to known vulnerabilities over time.

Social Engineering: Hackers may employ social engineering techniques to trick users into delivering sensitive information or granting access to their IoT devices. Phishing emails, fake apps, or fraudulent messages could be used to trick users into divulging passwords or other credentials.

Inadequate Authentication: Weak or insufficient authentication mechanisms can make it easier for hackers to gain unauthorized access to IoT devices. This can happen through techniques like brute-forcing passwords or exploiting default credentials.

Supply Chain Risks: The complex supply chains manufacturing IoT devices may introduce additional risks. Compromised components or software integrated into IoT devices during manufacturing could create vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.

Lack of Standards: The IoT industry is still evolving, and there needs to be universal security standards. This can result in inconsistent security practices across different devices and manufacturers, making it challenging to ensure comprehensive protection.

How do you secure IoT devices?

There are four essential things to consider when considering securing IoT devices.

One pane of glass: Get a level of visibility that shows all IoT devices on your network.

Control access: Allow only authorized IoT devices you know to join the network and restrict access to those devices.

Monitor your network: Get a good understanding of what “normal” activity looks like. This will allow you to monitor for strange behavior worthy of further investigation.

Automate your response time: Minimize your exposure time using an automated response. If, through monitoring, you discover that a connected device is vulnerable, an automated follow-up to detect and repair the problem will greatly reduce the risk of being compromised.

Conclusion: Can IoT devices be hacked?

For the risk of IoT device hacking, it is essential to follow security best practices. These include regularly updating device firmware, using strong and unique passwords, turning off unnecessary features, employing encryption for data transmission, securing the home network with firewalls, and being cautious of suspicious emails or messages.

Manufacturers, on their part, should prioritize security in IoT device design and development, ensuring regular security updates and robust authentication mechanisms. By being vigilant and proactive, both users and manufacturers can work towards reducing the likelihood of IoT devices being hacked and safeguarding the privacy and security of connected systems.

Ultimately, the question is not whether IoT devices can be hacked but how easily the average attacker can compromise yours. And for that, the answer is less complicated than you might think.

Also read: Pros and Cons of IoT Devices; Advantages and Disadvantages of IoT; Medical Technology Vs Biotechnology