Vulnerabilities in IoT devices and how to protect yourself against them

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In this modern technical world where technology is constantly evolving, threats to IoT devices have also escalated.

The experience of IoT devices is expanding rapidly and has dramatically changed our lives.

And, further, things that can be achieved with connected devices nowadays were impossible only a few years back.

What are IoT devices?

vulnerabilities in IoT devices

IoT stands for the Internet of Things.

An IoT device is any particular computing device with minimal processing power, which is wirelessly connected to a network and possesses the capability to send and receive data.

As a result of modern technology, we have numerous IoT devices. For instance, fridges, light bulbs, thermostats, cars, door locks, implants for RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), Webcams and many more. Generally, as the majority of the IoT devices employ the owner’s personal data like names, card info, emails, passwords and more in a lot of cases, securing it may seem simply a fantasy.

The online network is jam-packed with a lot of applications and other damaging scripts that are not required for your computer. Luckily, there are antivirus tools available to safeguard not merely against system viruses but also against all types of malware.

You just have to ensure that all your devices are protected by the best IoT security solution.

What is an antivirus?

Basically, an antivirus is a software that is created to identify and get rid of all kinds of viruses and malware from any device. Further securing them from any kind of threats, along with any harmful software such as worms, adware, browser hijackers, rootkits, keyloggers, and many more.

The antivirus thus performs operations such as scanning servers, computers, or phones to uncover and quarantine any type of malware.

Most kinds of antivirus software involve encountering real-time threats and relying on security strategies to safeguard from the exploitation of potential vulnerabilities, along with a scanning system which audits system files and anticipates probable risks.

Normally, antivirus software fulfils these fundamental functions:

  • The existence of harmful software can be revealed by scanning particular files and directories that display harmful patterns
  • Users are allowed to organize scans, as a result, the scan is performed automatically
  • Users are allowed to start fresh scans at any moment; and
  • Get rid of any harmful software it encountered. Few antivirus software programs perform this accordingly in the background, whereas others alert users of infections and question them if they would like to clean the files.

Altogether, the antivirus software should be given authorized access to the whole system, so as to scan the systems effectively. There are numerous antivirus programs that are available in many forms, such as internet security suites, which provide the protection of an antivirus, stand-alone antivirus scanners, as well as firewalls and other security barriers.

Considering all of this, here comes the big question, which antivirus software to choose? As there are oodles of options available, Bitdefender Antivirus and Kaspersky Antivirus consistently rank the highest positions.

Now, let’s take a look at the vulnerabilities of IoT devices.

Vulnerabilities in IoT devices

With these IoT devices, where you communicate data over the internet, come security problems.

It is predicted that 70% of IoT devices have unfixed vulnerabilities.

Here are the top 10 vulnerabilities in IoT devices as raised by Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP):

  1. Unsafe Web Interface — Hackers can easily disrupt your IoT system if you make it obvious by depending on inadequate or fragile passwords or allowing the “forgot password” functionality.
  2. Inadequate Authentication/Authorization — One of the big-time threat is that the users can gain access to your web interface without any authentication or authorization.
  3. A deficit of Transport Encryption — This is concerned with the information exchanged in an unencrypted format among the IoT devices, which effortlessly lets an intruder detect the data. It is raised due to certain vulnerabilities such as Unencrypted Services over the Internet or Local Network, badly implemented SSL/TLS, and Misconfigured SSL/TLS.
  4. Vulnerable Network Services — This vulnerability is affiliated with network services that use to access the IoT device allowing an interferer to attain access to the device or related information without authorization. It is caused by particular security vulnerabilities like Denial of Service (DoS), open ports, overflow of buffer and many more.
  5. Privacy Concerns — This issue is developed by a set of personal data along with the inadequacy of appropriate security of that data.
  6. Unsafe Cloud Interface — This concerns the security problems affiliated to the cloud interface, well-known to communicate among the IoT devices. This generally indicates that weak authentication controls or information are transmitted in an unencrypted format.
  7. Unsafe Mobile Interface — As mentioned above, poor authentication or unencrypted information runways can authorize an intruder to access the device or essential data of an IoT device.
  8. Lack of Security Configurability —This vulnerability arises when the device users have minimal or no capability to modify its safety controls.
  9. Unsafe Software/Firmware — The deficit of capability for a device to be modified displays a safety defect on its own. Devices must be able to get modified when vulnerabilities are detected and software/firmware updates can be unsafe when they restore files themselves and the network connections on which they are dispatched are unprotected.
  10. Weak Physical Security — Poor Physical security issues arise when an attacker can dismantle a device to effortlessly access the cache and any data saved on that cache.

So, these are some of the vulnerabilities in IoT devices that we need to be careful about. Now that we know the vulnerabilities affecting the IoT devices, let us go through how we can protect against them using an antivirus.

Role of an antivirus to help protect IoT devices

Although modern gizmos create smarter homes, they also make them more vulnerable to new kinds of cyber-attacks and unlawful activities.

Almost every user knows how to safeguard his/her PCs and laptops from harmful viruses, which can eradicate or badly corrupt their programs and work to further jeopardize their entire system’s safety.

However, we also need to secure our gadgets and gizmos, which come in the IoT sector, with a similarly enhanced security approach.

Antivirus software serves as a wall opposing the current viruses and malware out there.

And yet, if a few may yet slip by, the corrupted file or files can be isolated from your computer by a simple scan, thereby guaranteeing that the rest of your system is also safeguarded.

On the market, you may find innumerable antivirus and anti-malware tools and among all of them, Bitdefender is the best choice, which is capable of accommodating your gizmos with enhanced antivirus security.

What is Bitdefender?

Bitdefender is a robust antivirus and security solution provider on which you can completely rely.

vulnerabilities in IoT devices

The Bitdefender Central App allows you to control your complete digital home safety from your computer, smartphone or tablet. Its free IoT Scanner knows which devices are linked to your network and notifies you when any unknown devices try to log on, by acknowledging you in advance. It allows you to control all your devices so you can get complete authorization of how and when they can assign your network.

Bitdefender’s IoT device security solution is known as the Bitdefender BOX. It is a primary smart device that covers your entire wireless network. It gets connected to your router in order to prevent viruses, privacy intruders, and hackers at the access point. It offers network level and local protection fully packed with powerful features.

Let’s take a look at the important features of the Bitdefender BOX:

  • The Bitdefender Box is designed for particular use.
  • It protects your entire range of home devices and gadgets along with smartphones and smart TVs that are connected via the Internet.
  • Allows vulnerability evaluation and URL Blacklisting.
  • Grants access to the user and remotely manages the home network through a smartphone.
  • Allows cybersecurity for all your devices that are connected via internet from your home and further from work.
  • An individual mobile App will grant control for all your gadgets on your Home Network.
  • The parental controls are perfect for supervising the online activity of your kids and also to control their screen time.
  • Allows 100% sync with your smart home network and allows for the highest Internet speeds.

How to Overcome vulnerabilities in IoT devices using Bitdefender?

vulnerabilities in IoT devices

To overcome these vulnerabilities in IoT devices, you need to setup the Bitdefender BOX.

This can be configured in either of these three methods:

  1. Bitdefender BOX can be replaced with your existing router – this is the simplest of all and the most adaptable setup option.
  2. You can select to connect the BOX to your current router through the LAN port and operate it in the Bridge mode.
  3. The third way is that you simply make a new network using the BOX– which means you need to reconnect all of your devices to the freshly build network.

Once you are done with the setup, the Bitdefender BOX basically serves as a guardian between your device and the internet.

The Bitdefender BOX will freeze loading of harmful things, will secure your data, and pay attention to any unusual behaviour.

This can be achieved by two major types of protection offered by Bitdefender.

Types of protection of Bitdefender

Bitdefender offers 2 types of protection, which are:

  • Network Level Security

The network level protection functions in a way that any IoT device which is connected to your network will gain the below-mentioned safety benefits from Bitdefender BOX.

No need to install further software, it’s automatic – as you are connected and all traffic runs through the BOX.

  • Web scanning

Scans each website, if it is recorded as harmful in the Bitdefender Cloud database, then it blocks it.

  • On-demand Vulnerability Assessment

Allows scanning a particular device for vulnerabilities.

If it detects that the device is vulnerable, then it notifies you in the BOX management App about the vulnerability such as weak credentials, CVE vulnerabilities, out-of-date firmware, etc.

Further, it provides a hint on how to attend and safeguard your network.

  • Device detection

If a new device is linked to a network secured by the BOX, it notifies you by displaying an alert box in the management App and questions you if you would like to permit the new device to be linked to the network.

  • Exploit prevention

This engine detects and stops exploits by a mechanism identical to other well-known IDS (Intrusion detection system) solutions, which may comprise generic signatures to cover an immense group of attacks along with particular signatures if needed.

  • Anomaly detection

This engine works with cloud correlation and machine learning to perceive how devices must act under normal situations and be capable of precisely detecting, obstructing and notifying upon any harmful activity.

  • Brute force safety

It obstructs false authorization on devices linked to the BOX secured network.

  • Sensitive Data Security

Detects whenever sensitive data like passwords or credit card information is delegated over a non-encrypted network and obstructs that effort.

  • Local Level Security

The Bitdefender BOX allows immense security to all devices linked to the home network as well as away from it, using the Bitdefender Total Security package.

In reference to the further benefits of using Bitdefender Total Security, you will get access to the organization’s VPN (virtual private network).

This will protect your network by encrypting the data transmitted along with suppressing your IP address in an unspecified area.

However, with the installation of Total Security, you can further utilize the Bitdefender Central app to run scans, detect devices, and yet remotely lock them or clear the data from them.

Conclusion

IoT devices have immense power to make our lives simpler.

Yet, if the safety problems are not treated and acknowledged on time, the devices could head into further trouble than they deserve. Bitdefender along with its BOX 2, allows an effective and low-priced smart home safety solution that may soon emerge as an essentiality in any home network.

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Last updated: March 22, 2018

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Team 3nions is a club of passionate bloggers who cover the special / out of the box topics / blog posts at 3nions.com

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