Why penetration testing is essential for your IoT security

Penetration testing can be critical in assessing your company’s defense against cyber criminals who target IoT devices.

IoT devices are all around us in our day-to-day lives, whether it’s at work, at home, with connected factories, hospitals and even at home. According to Gartner there were more than 20 billion IoT devices by 2020. These connected devices, which number in the billions, have become an easy target for cyber criminals as businesses around the world have improved their processes over time with embedded IoT-driven information. Nokia Threat Intelligence Laboratory has reported that IoT devices now account for 32.72% (up from 16.17% in 2019).

The key drivers of attacks on IoT

Cyber criminals can leverage millions of vulnerable endpoints to launch DDoS attacks and pose a national security risk. It’s not surprising that the FBI continues guidance to help IoT users protect themselves from cyber criminals who target unsecure devices. We’ve always noted that poor security capabilities, lacks of vulnerability patching and consumer ignorance are the key factors behind repeated attacks on devices.

How penetration testing can be helpful

The Center for Internet Security, Inc. (CIS), has provided best practices for protecting IT systems and data. It is crucial for large organizations to establish organizational CIS controls. This will allow them to concentrate on people and processes, drive change, and implement an integrated plan to increase organizational risk. CIS Control 20: Persecution Testing and Black Team Exercises are two well-known methods to implement organizational controls. Cyber security experts can use these tests to simulate an attacker’s attack and detect weaknesses. Often attackers target software deployment vulnerabilities–such as configurations, policy management, and gaps in interactions among multiple threat detection tools to exploit security gaps.

First, IoT devices can have several types of interfaces–web-based interfaces for consumers, or object interfaces for governance as code-type of application such as control systems. Pentesting should focus on input validation, command injection and code injection.

The network infrastructure that links IoT objects to each other can be vulnerable. Malicious attacks on IoT devices within a single network require only one exploit to succeed. To perform specialized penetration testing of the network infrastructure, cryptographic schemes and communication protocols, it is essential to use both manual and automated tools.

It is crucial to scan all proprietary programs that are part of the system architecture. The seventh “Open Source Security and Risk Analysis (OSSRA) report found that 81% of codebases had at least one vulnerability. This is a huge amount of heterogeneity and complexity within the codebases. It is therefore important that experienced penetration testers use intelligent gray box testing to ensure that they cover all types of test required to conduct a thorough penetration test.

Strengthen your security defense position

To ensure the software development cycle is secure, it is important to have a complete security defense position with code governance, policy management, coaching, and team member coaching. Security professionals can use penetration testing to test their defenses and identify weaknesses, as well as drive remediation with product development teams, as software releases become more frequent. Organizations can gain deeper insight into the business risks associated with these vulnerabilities by conducting sophisticated penetration testing. This includes client-based, wireless, and web application attacks.

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