It is no secret that things are rarely ever private, or even safe, in the digital space. Whether you’re connecting an Xbox to your TV, a phone to your car, or a simple laptop with a Bluetooth speaker, there are security concerns that you will need to think about.
Whether you’re using your devices at your workplace, home, or even both, there is seldom a time when you’re not risking valuable personal, professional, or business data falling victim to some cyber offense.
IoT, or the Internet of Things, are prone to cyberattacks, and hacking because of their vulnerabilities doesn’t help the case. These attacks on IoT systems are massively detrimental to people and even businesses.
In this article, we’re going to walk through some IoT security concerns and how setting up a VPN could help solve most issues. Let’s get started by taking a deeper dive into some of IoT security concerns if you’re ready.
Some of the major IoT security concerns
When talking about IoT cybersecurity, it is important to keep in mind that the usage, hence, the risk is remarkably broad. So much so that the term “IoT security” has also been humorously used as an oxymoron.
Since the IoT and other forms of technology are still largely in its “creation phrase”, there hasn’t yet been a single established cybersecurity protocol that can be followed as a standard for users or developers.
To top that off, users are generally inadequately equipped with the knowledge or tools to prevent security breaches or incidents of cybercrime.
A study conducted in 2018 concluded that a 600% increase in cyberattacks on IoT systems was observed between 2016 and 2017. There could be several motives behind such attacks, such as extortion, protest, retaliation, and even plain, simple greed. If you’re exploring VPNs to offer security for the systems that you own, here are some attacks and issues that these nifty products will be able to protect against.
Man-in-the-middle attacks or MITM attacks
A man-in-the-middle attack happens when communication between a network gets intercepted by a hacker or a snooper.
MITM attacks are the kind of attacks where the interceptor can view the information being exchanged and change it—and this could lead to further security issues and even severe data or financial loss.
These kinds of attacks work especially well to benefit the attacker when the IoT network or devices already don’t come with their own security benefits. Several providers leave the device’s default settings and passwords while the products are being deployed.
This means that hacking into such a device could be as easy as running a Google search. Furthermore, IoT devices come with neither a protocol that lets you ensure that they are secure nor a mechanism that would alert users if a security breach was taking place.
Just like computers and devices can be connected in a network to help users perform complex and complicated tasks or make their lives easier, hackers can connect devices to form botnets.
These help them carry out serious and sophisticated cyberattacks, for example, DDoS attacks.
What makes these even more dangerous is that these programs can sit dormant on your PC for as long as the hacker wants them to unless he sends them a command. Since IoT devices can rarely reap the benefits of a good anti-virus program, you have no way of knowing that these program snippets are there.
One of the main problems is that IoT devices are far more straightforward than an average computer, or the simplest of smartphones, providing for a relatively humble security architecture.
Hacking and snooping
Sometimes, companies, hackers, and even governments can have access to your data. Since if you’re not using a VPN, your IP address is for anyone to find out, and anyone with the right knowledge and your IP address can listen, track and snoop in on your online activities. This makes it all the more important to encrypt your communication with the internet—which a VPN easily lets you do.
VPNs are superior cybersecurity structures that mask your IP address by letting you connect to the internet through a proxy server—using its IP address. This means that when using a VPN, your online browsing and activities can only be known by you.
Apart from that, VPNs also encrypt all communication between you and the internet, so that if a hacker or snooper does, in fact, manage to gain access to your communication, they wouldn’t be able to make sense of it—keeping your personal and private information safe.
However, some issues need further consideration and require additional effort, for example, employee training, awareness workshops, and keeping operating systems up to date.
Why VPNs help
Just implementing VPN technology across IoT device frameworks could significantly improve security.
When you’re connected to a VPN, not only is your browsing and online activities completely private, your communication with the internet is also encrypted. So even if someone does manage to get in, they won’t be able to interpret what’s going on.
These can help prevent cyberattacks, security and data breaches, ensure privacy, potentially increase your internet speed by letting you out of the shackles of ISP throttling and increase network reliability, among many other advantages.
How to connect IoT devices to a VPN
If you’ve used VPNs before, they can be easily downloaded and installed in the form of desktop clients and apps for different devices.
Many VPNs even allow you to connect them to your router so that you can secure all your devices simultaneously.
Even though in the case of IoTs, the best option seems to be VPN routers, however, if you’re more into installing the apps on individual devices, here’s news: many high-quality VPN providers offer up to ten multi-log ins!
IoT networks aren’t perfect, and there’s still a long way to go until standard security procedures can be set into place. Using a VPN tool, into your mix of devices can boost security and make your network considerably more robust in the meanwhile.