Top 5 IoT Security Risks in 2023

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We’re all increasingly relying on technology, and the internet of things (IoT) is a big part of that. Experts project that by the end of 2022, the world will have over 14 billion connected IoT devices, which will only increase going into 2023. Concurrently, the global consumer market for IoT the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.39% to hit $104.4 billion by 2023.

This network of physical objects, including everything from wearables to automobiles, is revolutionizing the way we live and work. However, as the IoT continues to grow, so too do the risks to its security. With so much at stake, it’s essential to be aware of the top IoT security risks in 2023, so you can take steps to protect your devices and data.

IoT security risks 2023

Keep reading to learn about the five biggest IoT security threats you’ll likely face in 2023.

1. Industrial Espionage and Eavesdropping

Cybercriminals know IoT devices often collect and transmit sensitive data. They can intercept and use this data for nefarious purposes, such as industrial espionage or competitive intelligence. In some cases, attackers may even be able to eavesdrop on conversations or video footage captured by IoT devices.

This means that one 2023 IoT security threat is the invasion of privacy. Hackers can spy and intrude on sensitive data using IoT devices. They can, in turn, use the data they’ve gathered to blackmail or extort IoT device users.

For easy spying, hackers can take over a camera-enabled IoT device and use it to live stream footage or take pictures of the device’s surroundings. They can use IoT devices with microphones to eavesdrop on conversations taking place near the device. This is why countries like Germany have banned the interactive doll “My Friend Cayla” because attackers could use it to spy on people.

2. Ransomware Attacks

One of the most likely IoT security risks in 2023 is the growing threat of ransomware attacks. Ransomware is malware that encrypts a victim’s files and demands a ransom to decrypt them. And experts have already warned that a combination of ransomware and IoT devices is a recipe for disaster.

The IoT gives cybercriminals a larger attack surface to target. And as IoT devices become more sophisticated, they’re also becoming more vulnerable to ransomware attacks.

What’s worse, cybercriminals are targeting operational technology and critical infrastructure. Attackers know that IoT devices are often connected to systems that control things like power plants and water treatment facilities. If they can access these IoT devices, they can cause severe damage by disrupting the systems they’re connected to.

In February 2022, hackers launched a ransomware attack on KP Snacks, a food company in the UK. The attack disrupted the company’s operations, prompting it to declare that there would be a shortage of roasted nuts and potato chips. This shortage occurred because it was difficult for KP Snacks to process orders safely.

Going into 2023, ransomware attacks will likely target IoT devices more frequently. And as these devices become more interconnected, the potential damage from these attacks will only increase.

3. Shadow IoT

IoT admins can’t control which devices connect to a given network. This lack of proper control creates a threat known as shadow IoT.

Devices with IP addresses, such as wireless printers and fitness trackers, offer more convenience to users. However, these IoT devices can be used for malicious purposes because they do not meet the security standards of most organizations.

IoT security risks 2023

Employees usually bring these devices into the workplace without the knowledge of IoT administrators. Since the admins lack visibility into these shadow devices, they can’t monitor the devices effectively for suspicious activities. It’s also challenging to ensure they have all the necessary security functionalities.

Once the hackers penetrate these devices, they can access the corporate network and steal sensitive data using privilege escalation. If organizations want to avoid this likely 2023 IoT security threat, their IT admins should put IoT visibility and control high on their list of priorities.

4. Botnet Attacks

As IoT devices become more prevalent, so too do botnet attacks. A botnet is a network of hijacked devices that a cybercriminal can control to carry out malicious activity. In these attacks, hackers create an army of bots, install the malware on them, and set them to send uncountable requests per second to crash the target system.

One of the most famous IoT botnet attacks occurred in 2016 when the Mirai botnet targeted DNY, a popular DNS provider. The attack makes it difficult for internet users to access popular websites such as Twitter, Netflix, Reddit, GitHub, Airbnb, and HBO, among others.

Another notable IoT botnet attack occurred the same year, involving an IoT malware attack on Deutsche Telekom. The attack compromised the routers of over 900,000 German households.

IoT devices are more vulnerable to botnet attacks because they often have little to no security. Many IoT manufacturers don’t include security in the design of their products, and as a result, IoT devices are easy targets for botnet attacks. Cybercriminals can easily turn them into zombies and deploy them as weapons for DDoS.

5. Lack of IoT Security Awareness

Since the internet became a key workplace component, users have learned concepts such as how to avoid falling victim to phishing attacks. But when it comes to IoT devices, users are still in the dark.

IoT is a relatively new technology, and users still do not know much about staying safe when leveraging it. They don’t understand its functionality and, as a result, can’t identify when an IoT device is compromised.

Hackers will likely take advantage of users’ lack of awareness to initiate social engineering attacks. Social engineering involves using psychological tricks to get people to reveal sensitive information or perform actions that will compromise their security.

2023 IoT security threats awareness

As IoT devices become more widespread in 2023, social engineering attacks will only become more common. IoT users need education about the risks of using these devices and how they can protect themselves.

Stay on Top of IoT Security Risks in 2023

While the IoT promises to revolutionize our lives and work, it also comes with various security risks. Organizations need to be aware of these risks and take steps to mitigate them. Security awareness training would be a perfect place to start in staying ahead of 2023 IoT security threats.

Protect Your Organization from Phishing

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