IoT devices during Covid-19. Are they safe?

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One third of the population is in home, Social distancing and Work from home are the buzzing words as Covid-19 is becoming a serious threat and changing the living conditions of mankind. World is now looking for solutions to fight against this pandemic and some experts are pointing to IoT as a problem solver. But there are some security issues related with the implementation of IoT in offices and as well as home.

IoT is the network of physical devices, vehicles, home appliances and other systems which are embedded with electronics, software, sensors and connectivity and enables these things to collect and exchange data. It finds applications in Smart home and driverless cars.

IoT applications are still in infant stage and hope better uses in the near future. But there exist some security issues in it. ExtraHop, a Seattle based NDR (Network Detection and Response) technology firm reported security risks posed by connected devices. The report states that connected devices both used by employees at home and those left idle at office network can pose serious threat to enterprises. They studied and compared business related device activity conducted on November 2019 and March 2020 and found long term security implications which are listed below:

  • Employees are accessing corporate network resources through local network which lacks safeguards like that of an office network and pose threats.
  • Office phones and printers are still plugged in and many of these devices are still connected even when no one is using them.
  • Security camera connections increased by about 47% in March and they are also prone to cyber risks like that of printers and phones.

The report by ExtraHop indicates that Management of IoT and other connected devices needs focus, better technology and skilled cyber specialists. IoT can make devices smart and autonomous, but it can make the system in an industry more complex and pose cyber threats. These are specialized devices and will have limitations, so deploying them create some landing points for outsiders to enter into our network. Monitoring the network packets originating from IoT devices can give alerts on security risks.

Rapid expansion of IoT systems wouldn’t be possible without expanding Cloud Infra structure; supplied by providers like Amazon web services, Microsoft Azure and Google cloud and skilled security analysts. Post covid-19 may see a big surge in the use of cloud services and NDR technologies. This further pave the way for safe IoT usages.

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