Top Seven IoT Security Vulnerabilities

Top Seven IoT Security Vulnerabilities

Internet of Things (IoT) devices have helped businesses transform their operation methods. However, IoT devices are highly vulnerable due to a lack of in-built security, making it easier for hackers to exploit them.

The changing digital landscape has necessitated a wide adoption of IoT. IoT devices are interconnected, which can likely compromise numerous devices’ security, making it challenging for businesses to secure IoT devices.

Here are a few common vulnerabilities of IoT devices

IoT Botnets

Cyber-attackers find IoT devices an easy target due to their weak security configurations and the number of devices they are assigned to. The attacker can infect an IoT device with malware via an unsecured port or phishing attack and integrate it into an IoT botnet to conduct cyber attacks.

Hackers can rapidly locate malicious code on the internet that identifies susceptible machines or bypasses the detection method to conduct to steal sensitive information. They use IoT botnets for distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks to disintegrate the target’s network traffic.

Detection of botnet attacks is challenging; however, businesses must take numerous preventive measures to protect these devices. Companies must employ robust security measures- regular updates and patches, checking whether or not the devices meet the security standards and protocols, and authentication methods.

Network segmentation allows businesses to wall off IoT devices to secure the network from vulnerable devices. Moreover, IT admins can track and identify network activity to detect botnets.

DNS Threats

Businesses use IoT to gather data from legacy machines that lack advanced security standards. When organizations integrate legacy systems with IoT, it exposes the network to legacy device vulnerabilities.

IoT device connections rely on DNS, a decentralized naming system that cannot handle IoT deployment scaling. Cyber-attackers use these DNS vulnerabilities during DDoS attacks to acquire data or introduce malware.

Businesses must ensure that the DNS vulnerability does not exploit the IoT security by using Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC). It secures the DNS via digital signatures, ensuring accurate and unmodified data.

Moreover, when an IoT device pairs with the network for software updates, DNSSEC ensures the upgrade succeeds without a malicious redirect. At the same time, businesses must upgrade protocol standards and determine the protocol upgrades’ compatibility with the complete network. They must use numerous DNS services for an additional security layer and continuity.

Physical Tampering and Code Injections

Physical threats are common where IoT devices are accessible externally. It makes it challenging for businesses to control access and lets cyber-attackers physically gain access to insecure IoT devices or install malware.

At the same time, hackers physically attempt to insert malicious nodes among legitimate nodes in an IoT network. They use these nodes to gain control over the data that flows between linked nodes.

IoT Ransomware

An increasing number of unsecured devices connected to corporate networks have increased the number of IoT ransomware attacks. Cyber-attackers exploit these devices with malware to turn them into botnets that explore access points for credentials they can use to enter the network.

After they gain network access via an IoT device, hackers pull back the data and threaten the user to retain or delete it unless paid a demanded ransom. More importantly, paying the ransom is not the only way for businesses to obtain the data since the ransomware deletes all the files regardless of the ransom.

IoT Physical Security

It is unlikely that the attackers might access an IoT device physically; businesses must not disregard this possibility when they plan an IoT security strategy. Attackers can steal devices and access the internal circuits and ports to exploit the network. Businesses must deploy the authenticated devices and set up only authorized and authenticated device access.

Brute-force Password Attacks and Eavesdropping

When businesses do not acknowledge the security posture of an IoT device, they become vulnerable to potential cyber-attacks like brute force or dictionary attacks. When users leave the IoT device’s password unchanged or have a primary password, hackers can execute brute-force or dictionary attacks to gain access to the device.

Simultaneously, a weak connection between an IoT device and a server enables attackers to intercept the traffic and obtain the credentials or steal sensitive information the IoT devices transmit.

Shadow IoT

Businesses cannot control the kind of devices connected to their network, creating an IoT vulnerability called shadow IT. Devices with an IP address, like wireless printers, fitness trackers, or digital assistants, assist employees with regular operations; however, there is a likability of these IP addresses not meeting the security standards.

Hackers use privilege escalation to access sensitive information. Without adequate visibility into shadow IoT devices, businesses cannot guarantee the basic security functionalities of hardware and software or efficient monitoring of malicious traffic.

Therefore, businesses can set policies to restrict the shadow IoT threats while employees add devices to the network. Companies must have an inventory of all connected devices. It allows them to use IP address management tools or device discovery tools to detect the most recent connections, apply policies and block questionable devices.

Also Read: Tightening the Security Net: Strategies to Counter Multifactor Authentication Vulnerabilities


Businesses must employ a multilayered approach to the mitigation of Internet of Things (IoT) security risk. They must use robust strategies and practices and have special defenses that efficiently differentiate the IoT attack types. IoT security integrates policy enforcement and software that helps identify any threats.

At the same time, businesses must facilitate strong password policies for any devices on the network that use threat detection tools to foresee potential risks. The more visibility businesses have about the IoT devices’ data; the easier it will be for them to detect risks and threats.

Companies must use strategies to prevent security attacks- disablement of unneeded services, disaster recovery procedures, regular data backups, network segmentation, device vulnerability assessments, and network monitoring tools.

Interestingly, data protection strategies boost IoT security. While IoT deployments are challenging due to their decentralized function, it helps businesses to add an extra security layer. Moreover, companies can retain data securely with various visibility tools, data encryption measures, data privacy measures, and log management systems.

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Apoorva Kasam is a Global News Correspondent with OnDot Media. She has done her master's in Bioinformatics and has 18 months of experience in clinical and preclinical data management. She is a content-writing enthusiast, and this is her first stint writing articles on business technology. She specializes in data privacy, cloud security, endpoint security,and security compliance,Her ideal and digestible writing style displays the current trends, efficiencies, challenges, and relevant mitigation strategies businesses can look forward to. She is looking forward to exploring more technology insights in-depth.