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IoT Cyber threats: How to Protect Them?

IoT Cyber threats: How to Protect Them?

Almost every device we use today is connected to the internet and other devices too. Be it smart wearable watches, smart thermostats, or industrial control systems, the world today consists of an ever-growing network of devices. These devices continuously generate, collect, and transmit data which makes it difficult to distinguish between physical and digital worlds.

We cannot deny how convenient and efficient these interconnected IoT devices have made our lives, but we must also consider the cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities they bring to our world.

In this article let us explore the critical world of IoT cybersecurity and see various ways in which IoT devices can be exploited by hackers, understand some mitigation strategies, and learn what the future holds for IoT and cybersecurity.

Why is IoT Cybersecurity Important?

The more the number of IoT devices, the better the attack surface for cyber-attackers. Today, the number of interconnected devices is larger than ever and is growing at an unprecedented rate. It is estimated that by 2025, there will be around 35.8 billion connected devices globally (as reported by Jupiter Research). And each of these IoT devices will serve as a potential entry point for hackers. Therefore, the need for IoT cybersecurity is more important than ever.

Now, if we look at compromised devices, they don’t just cause inconvenience but also pose serious security risks. Hackers exploit vulnerabilities in these compromised devices and steal confidential and sensitive data. This can lead to disruption of important organizational infrastructure and operations and may even lead to serious consequences such as physical harm.

For example, Positive Technologies conducted research and found that vulnerabilities in medical devices are on the rise and it is posing a significant threat to patient’s safety. On top of that, such compromised devices are also used to carry out large-scale botnet attacks where they overload the server’s traffic bandwidth and cause disruption to businesses and organizations.

Understanding the concept of IoT for cybersecurity is very important if you are looking to make a career in cybersecurity.

Common IoT Security Vulnerabilities

Here, let us understand some of the most common ways in which IoT devices are infiltrated by cyber-attackers to exploit vulnerabilities.

  1. Weak passwords or using default settings

    Every IoT device comes with pre-configured default passwords which are weak and also come with insecure login credentials. Users normally ignore setting up strong passwords for such devices and keep using them with default credentials which makes it very easy for attackers to enter and exploit the devices.

  2. Weak communication channels

    If devices use unsecured communication channels for data transmission, then they can be easily unencrypted by hackers and they can exploit it to access sensitive information.

  3. Outdated firmware and software

    All IoT devices need secure software to safeguard them from potential attacks. However, they come with a default software version that needs to be regularly updated or patched, as in the case of mobile software updates. Failing to do so makes the devices vulnerable to attacks by hackers.

  4. Lack of device management

    With the number of devices, we use every day increasing, it has become difficult to properly manage each of them. It has become challenging to maintain the inventory, track updates, and implement proper access controls. Thus, increasing the risk of getting compromised.

  5. Use of inappropriate technology

    Often organizations leverage advanced and powerful technology in IoT devices that is much more than required by devices. For example, putting Linux OS in an IoT device where only a small portion of it was necessary, can lead to misuse of this powerful device if compromised.

    You can take advantage of the best cybersecurity certification programs to learn more about such vulnerabilities that you will often come across as a cybersecurity professional.

Securing IoT Devices with Best Practices

Now that you understand how IoT devices can be exploited and know what the weak points could be, learn how you can secure your IoT devices to remain safe and secure.

  • Securing the device: This means using strong login procedures including strong and unique passwords, MFA, and passkeys. You must also disable unnecessary features in the devices that you don’t use and ensure the security software is up to date.
  • Securing your network: this is important to safeguard all IoT devices and includes using strong Wi-Fi passwords or maybe even considering a separate network for all connected IoT devices. You can use the guest network feature to isolate guest devices from the main network. There should be proper firewall security in place to monitor and control traffic on the network.
  • Choose secure devices: Before buying new IoT devices, research your bit and choose the best-secured devices with enhanced security features. It is recommended that you buy devices from reputed manufacturers who have a proven track record of providing the best security.

Future of IoT Cybersecurity

Today everyone is aware of the importance of security in IoT devices. Every user understands the vulnerabilities in their devices and this is leading to a positive change. Now industries and governments are collaborating to establish minimum security requirements for all kinds of connected devices.

Additionally, the emergence of newer and more advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can be a great advantage to automate threat detection and response.


As we move towards the future, we can see even more advanced IoT devices. So, it is the need of the hour to prioritize the cybersecurity of IoT devices. It is no longer an option but a necessity. So, organizations, governments, and individuals must adopt best practices to ensure a robust security standard to safeguard such devices and use them for maximum benefit without any risk.