Technology Blog

Internet of Threats?


In 2015 Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky Lab, dubbed IoT the internet of threats. A bold statement, considering the benefits of IoT were well promoted and claimed to outweigh the negative impacts. It would attract those tech-savvy millennials. Enable working from pretty much anywhere in the world. And keep businesses wired into the latest digital advancements. Having said that, three years later, Kaspersky’s statement rings truer than ever before.


Before this year’s Aruba Atmosphere 2018 conference, we did a survey to inform the content of the event. That survey threw up some really enlightening stats, ones that are likely to prove Kaspersky right. Namely, that 44.15% of respondents said that IoT will cause the biggest strain on their network over the next few months, with 37.57% naming its younger brother, BYOD, as the principal culprit.


Surveys like this help to demonstrate the sheer size of the problem. But I don’t think they explain the reason IoT has become known as the internet of threats, or how to tackle the issue. Following my Twitter Q&A, where I answered some of the most common concerns, I wanted to share my thoughts on what we can do to mitigate those threats in practice. Hopefully, then we can shift the conversation around IoT, and focus on the benefits once more.


The threat of the unknown


One of the main concerns is that as it grows, the shape of IoT is constantly shifting. Like adding more and more entrances to a building, we’re adding a greater number and variety of devices to networks, leaving more potential doors open to hackers. Unfortunately, it means the shape of future threats is in a constant state of flux. Especially following the rise of high-profile ransomware attacks, it’s something that is top of every CIO’s radar. But there are actually relatively simple ways of dealing with this unknown threat, and it’s about taking a proactive approach.


Getting full visibility

This one might seem like the most obvious, but it’s one of the most crucial problems to tackle. Ultimately, you can’t secure what you can’t see. To get full visibility you’ll need a comprehensive monitoring tool in place, one that allows you to see all the devices on your network.


Containing the risk before it’s a problem


Just like if you were constructing flood defenses, the way you structure your network permissions can help you contain the potential risk. If you ensure that each user is only given permissions to access the areas of the network and data specific to their role, you’ll ensure that if there is a breach, the damage is as limited as possible. For this, you’ll need sophisticated policy and monitoring tools that combine to cover a diverse environment of wired and wireless end-user devices. Behavioural analytics can also be used to identify when devices aren’t acting as they should, and access can be blocked accordingly.


Spotting patterns in the pandemonium


Although it might feel as though the IoT threat is sporadic and illogical, you can use machine learning and peer comparisons to predict and prevent future threats. In a world where security breaches are designed to leverage legacy and evolving technology to break through an organization’s defenses, there are distinct patterns we can identify and use to better secure networks.


Taking it back to the foundations


The best troubleshooting for threats lies in the initial design and setup of the network itself. It’s one of the hardest but most crucial things to get right, as it’s never one size fits all. Once the foundations have been laid correctly, you can use an automated system to spot issues before they’re reported. If you choose one that immediately reacts to what’s happening in your network, it means you’ll always be on the front foot when it comes to threats. From then on, it’s about taking a layered approach, answering the high-level questions to isolate the issue and fix the problem.


Making it happen


Hopefully, I’ve managed to give you a bit more detail on how to tackle the inevitable threat accompanying IoT. Because really, when it comes to IoT, the biggest threat is not knowing how to deal with the future shape of security issues in practice.


To get a more detailed look at the queries and responses from my Twitter Q&A, just follow the link below




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