In the age of technology, Internet of Things (IoT) is now becoming more commonplace in our everyday lives. It is becoming increasingly common for us to interact with connected devices with a simple touch of a button. This technology enables information sharing between devices, making it easier for us to monitor and control them remotely.
The concept of Shadow IoT
As helpful as IoT technology may be, there are risks associated with it. One of these risks is the concept of Shadow IoT. Simply put, Shadow IoT refers to the unauthorized or unsanctioned connected devices that are being used within an organization. This poses a serious problem as these devices could be insecure or compromised, having the potential to cause a lot of harm to an organization.
The reason why Shadow IoT has become more prevalent is that many employees have grown accustomed to using their personal devices for work-related purposes. Such devices include smartphones, smartwatches, and laptops. However, the security protocols of these devices may not be up to par with the organization’s security standards. This presents a serious problem as these devices may be vulnerable to hacking and other types of security breaches.
More specifically, it is the use of devices that aren’t managed by an organization’s IT team that make them “shadow devices.” These devices could also have default passwords, presenting an opportunity for cybercriminals to easily gain access to sensitive information that an organization may hold.
The threats posed by Shadow IoT devices
Shadow IoT devices pose significant threats, including:
One of the biggest risks associated with Shadow IoT devices is the potential for data breaches. Such breaches could result in the loss of confidential data, affecting both businesses and individuals. Hackers could retrieve data such as passwords, credit card details, and personal identification data, which can be used in various types of fraudulent operations. Hackers could also gain access to company secrets and steal confidential information that could negatively impact businesses.
IoT devices are connected through Wi-Fi or other similar wireless networks. This allows for smooth and seamless communication between devices. However, the downside is that these networks could be vulnerable to cyber-attacks. A hacker could exploit the vulnerabilities in the network to cause a blackout. For example, a hacker could go after the network used to manage the building’s or office’s air conditioning systems. This could lead to productivity loss for businesses or cause safety hazards in critical facilities like hospitals.
Shadow IoT devices may not have sufficient security protocols that are required in an organizational setting. This opens them up to attacks from malicious actors who can gain access to the internal systems of an organization. Once a malicious actor has access, they can interfere with the system’s functions or cause damage to sensitive data.
Penetration of data security
By accessing vulnerable shadow IoT devices, hackers have access to the company’s servers and networks. Through these networks, they can move laterally around the systems, potentially causing significant damage. Hackers could also install malware on a device to spy on the user or to extract important information such as login credentials.
Mitigating the Risks of Shadow IoT
It is essential for organizations to keep up with regulatory guidelines and implement strategies and solutions to mitigate the risks of IoT devices. This can be done by:
Developing a complete inventory of networked devices
It’s necessary to maintain a complete inventory of networked devices, including details such as manufacturer, model number, and operating system, among other essential information. This inventory can help IT teams identify any unsanctioned devices across the network and remedy the issues that may arise.
Implementing an IoT security policy
An IoT security policy will ensure that all devices on the network comply with a set of security protocols to protect against unauthorized access. This policy should cover aspects such as device authentication, access control, and privacy protection.
Maintaining vendor supportability and vulnerability remediation processes
Maintaining vendor supportability ensures that devices are capable of implementing security patches and manufacturer-supplied updates that can defend IoT devices against new vulnerabilities that may appear over time.
IoT Device Auditing
Regulatory compliance requires an organization to maintain an audit trail of all IoT devices. This audit trail will help security teams to identify any data breaches and take the necessary action to remediate the situation.
End-user security awareness
Training end-users about security best practices, such as avoiding suspicious emails or websites and keeping software and firmware up to date, can help reduce the likelihood of shadow IoT devices on a network.
What is Shadow IoT?
Shadow IoT refers to the unauthorized or unsanctioned connected devices that are being used in an organization. These unsanctioned devices may be vulnerable to hacking and other types of security breaches.
What threats can Shadow IoT devices pose?
Shadow IoT devices can pose significant threats, including data theft, blackouts, unauthorized access, and the penetration of data security.
What steps can organizations take to mitigate the risks of Shadow IoT?
Organizations can maintain a complete inventory of networked devices, implement an IoT security policy, maintain vendor supportability, perform IoT device audits, and emphasize end-user security awareness.
As the Internet of Things continues to evolve, it is imperative that organizations take a strategic approach to mitigate the risk of Shadow IoT. By following the recommended steps, businesses can ensure that they remain secure and efficient in their operations. Therefore, it is the responsibility of each organization to ensure that their network and devices are secure and well managed, and that employees are well trained to avoid exposing the company to potential security risks.