Imagine a hacker, comfortably sitting at home, miles away from you, decides to commandeer your vehicle. They turn on the cold air, turn the radio to some local station, and kill your accelerator. Now stop imagining it, because it actually is possible.
The Internet of Things, or IoT, is the collective term for all devices, or “things”, which can connect to the internet today, and are not your average browsing device. This includes everything from your smartwatch to your Facebook-connected car. With the debut of IPv6, there are now an unfathomable number of IP addresses available to the world, IP addresses that can be assigned to more and more devices, connecting them to the World Wide Web. According to Steve Leibson, an expert in the area of network communications, we could “assign an IPv6 address to every atom on the surface of the earth, and still have enough addresses left to do another 100+ earths.”
As many of us have seen in the news, however, once you allow a device to reach out to the internet, you risk someone reaching back. IoT security is becoming a popular topic as the tech industry realizes that the rules you had to play by to secure something like a laptop computer, with all of its security applications and layers of checks-and-balances, are not the same rules for IoT devices. And with close to 15 billion devices connected to the internet today, IoT security isn’t just a priority, it’s quickly becoming the priority.
IoT devices open up the door to new and creative ways of hacking, moving beyond static data stored on a server and to live, active information that may exist for only a moment on a device you wouldn’t think twice about regarding security.
Let’s consider a printer. You copy, print, and scan documents to a printer without a second thought. You may have some concern over the physical copy, but your average printer isn’t a hard drive, it isn’t storing anything, right? A hacker could potentially infiltrate your printer, and as information flows through said printer, it could be read, copied, and stored elsewhere. Entire reams of confidential papers could be digitally duplicated without you ever knowing.
IoT security is where we start to consider whether or not your printer is properly protected. It is the safeguarding of connected devices and networks where the average user wouldn’t think security was necessary. Up till now, the problem has been that security wasn’t part of the design for IoT devices. Products were, and still largely are, sold without embedded operating systems and security software. The icing on the cake is that, like a modem, most IoT devices do have basic password protection for their interfaces, but since most devices are plug-and-play, a user never sees that interface and never thinks to change the default password.
No network or device can be 100% secure. Information on some level needs to be able to flow in and out. Though not a solution so much as a practice, stealth networking is one way to provide extra layers of security through difficulty. The more difficult or time consuming a network is, the more a hacker has to weigh the balance of time versus worth. No one wants to hack the sales records of a coffee shop if it will take two weeks to do so.
Stealth Networking is the segmentation and zoning of your network. Essentially, it’s separating your network out into its individual parts. This way, if one portion of your network is compromised, it minimizes the intrusion and restricts further movement across the network and propagation of a threat. This gives admins more time to detect and isolate threats, before they can compromise the entirety of a network.
To learn more about stealth networking, visit Altura Communication Solutions’ Stealth Networking page or call us at 800-654-0715.