Bolstering The Security Of IIOT Applications – How To Go About It? - Moon Technolabs

When it comes to consumer IoT gadgets, Wi-Fi is the most preferred network. However, in industrial surroundings, you have to place sensors and other machines as they are part of IIOT technology. To run them optimally, you may need a cellular connection. You need to do something to secure the devices, as well as the networks they use to avoid security risks.

Due to the reduction in the size of radios and sensors, it has been possible for industrialists to use millions of smart devices connected with each other. Industrialists use these devices for specific purposes, including remote monitoring, automation, and predictive maintenance.

According to IT and tech experts, the field of Industrial Internet of Things or IIOT is a more enhanced version of the IoT where these connected gadgets provide the information needed in consumer and commercial applications.

In the sphere of IIOT, it’s perfectly possible to deploy smart devices in construction vehicles, wind and solar power, supply chain robots, smart irrigation, agricultural sensor systems, and others. The only thing common in IIOT applications is that they all serve in challenging network environments.

Wi-Fi systems can support most of these IoT applications to 5G NR, or 4G LTE cellular systems to create private networks.

Then again, vulnerability follows remoteness like a shadow. In more recent times, cyberterrorism in IIOT has popped up as a problematic trend. Events of security breaches can be potentially devastating for industries. That’s why industrialists need extremely robust security measures in place, especially if they deploy IoT gadgets remotely.

New-age technologies, such as CPaaS and SASE can help business owners keep all connected devices secure. However, when it comes to standing up to the latest cybersecurity threats, app developers have to take their understanding and implementation of security systems and measures to the next level. To that end, they can do the following.

  • Contemplate how their IIOT devices and applications are vulnerable to hackers and why.
  • Incorporate modern strategies and solutions to bolster the security of their applications and devices.

1. The initiation point

Tech specialists often use a term called “attack surface.” This attack surface is the part or point of a system that an unauthorized user or attacker can leverage to penetrate the system. All IIOT solutions have these attack surfaces, such as the wireless module, the devices, the process of transmitting data from a device to an application, the application itself, etc.

Hackers or other perpetrators can use these things to gain access to the system, misuse it or even leak or modify classified data. So, if you’re to incorporate the highest levels of security into your deployment design, you have to reduce the risks for three specific attack surfaces. These include the application, the device, and the network.

2. Securing the application

It’s perfectly possible to secure IoT deployments from the level of the application. The ecosystem of every IoT deployment tends to be diverse and complicated. The use case for every industry is unique, other than the associated applications. Furthermore, they often incorporate several open-source frameworks and libraries with exclusive maintainers.

Therefore, IoT businesses should consider opting for an agile approach to security. After all, it facilitates continuous deployment and integration of application software. It’s a model that reduces the time between detecting a bug or security issue and fixing the same while limiting the possibility of a threat.

Securing the application - Moon Technolabs

Consider incorporating the following practices for the security of applications.

  • Use secure APIs to keep your databases safe. Make sure that only an authenticated user gets to execute these APIs.
  • Complex passwords can bestow more security upon your applications than you can imagine. Keep changing them from time to time, and remember to use multi-factor authentication, user audit trails, and properly-defined user roles and associated permissions.
  • Reduce the number of API calls one user, IP address, or device can execute to avoid attacks of pitfalls that can target the system’s availability.
  • Devise a plan that facilitates constant deployment and integration of application software.

In terms of securing the application infrastructure, you can do the following.

  • Multi-factor authentications can add an extra layer of security.
  • Make the cloud infrastructure of platforms, such as Azure, AWS, or Google, your friend. It can help you host IoT applications. The creators of these environments possess domain knowledge to meet every level of susceptible security requirements.
  • Separate services logically into several infrastructure accounts to isolate them. This strategy lets you contain the damage even if an attacker manages to penetrate an account.
  • When you work with a cellular cloud provider, consider hiding the infrastructure of the virtual machine in a private network. To do that, you’ll need intra-cloud security. Once established, you should be able to stop spam attacks, port scans, and DDoS.

3. Securing the devices

The gadgets you use in your IoT system make up the endpoint of the deployment. It can manifest in the form of a GPS tracker, sensor, edge gateway, car, or anything else. An IoT machine connected to cellular networks usually has three components.

  • A SIM card
  • Physical devices, such as storage, processor, external interfaces, OS, etc.
  • The software program powering the device

There’s a Root of Trust or RoT in every component. This RoT is an unchangeable source that remains correct at all times. Numerous security processes, such as user data encryption and data validation, depend on the RoT.

1. The SIM card

The SIM card is the Root of Trust in mobile connectivity. After passing through thirty years of standardization and evolutionary phases, SIM cards can currently make data transmission more secure on mobile networks. They can also ensure appropriate identification of the source of a connection.

To protect the SIM of a device, you should do the following.

  • Use embedded SIM cards because they’ll break as soon as someone tries to remove them.
  • Activate the IMEI lock to ensure that the SIM will work only with one device.
  • Use a network firewall for cellular systems to regulate traffic to unauthorized destinations.

2. The physical device

As already mentioned earlier, industrialists deploy IoT devices in remote locations. Naturally, the physical device often ends up being the first point of attack. If attackers gain access to a device, they can break into it, remove the SIM, and set it up in a different device.

The physical device - Moon Technolabs

3. The device software

The software programs and operating systems embedded on IoT gadgets are also prone to attacks because of software bugs. The only way of securing device software programs is to update them. In doing so, they can protect your IoT deployment against cybersecurity vulnerabilities and threats.

While you can disperse IoT devices around the whole world, you should possess the ability to manage and update them remotely. It means you require two more capabilities – remote access and remote device management.

You can take the following steps to augment the security standards of the device software.

  • Facilitate firmware rollback if any firmware update fails.
  • Adhere to CI/CD and launch the newest security updates for used libraries within the shortest possible time.
  • Run and verify firmware updates remotely over secure channels.
  • Delete confidential data remotely when the device goes out of service.
  • Make sure there aren’t any hardcoded credentials, passwords, clear-text usernames, or encryption keys present on the device.
  • Use remote access instead of a secure channel.

Also Read: How Much Will It Cost You To Develop An App Using IoT Technology?

4. Securing the network

Finally, you need to look into the network for your cellular-based IoT deployment. Telecommunication services, SMS, voice calls, and data, always have several attack surfaces for criminals to exploit. Providers of cellular network services focusing on IoT can provide specific mechanisms to reduce or block telecom services at the level of the network to stop attacks.

1. Voice calls

Voice-based systems still don’t play a major role in the domain of IoT. However, there are cases requiring voice capability. Providers of IoT solutions often rely on VoIP services instead of conventional telecom services. They do it so that they can use the same security systems used in their data services.

Voice calls - Moon Technolabs

To avoid instances of cyberattacks, you need to limit the duration and amount of voice servers allowed for devices. You should also reduce the numbers that you can call from the gadget or the numbers that can call it.

2. SMS

More and more hackers have been using SMS as the attack surface these days. If SMS is crucial to you, you have to block it from external devices, especially if it’s a crucial part of a solution. As soon as you do it, attackers won’t be able to reach the device directly.

The following strategies will further bolster your SMS against cyberattacks.

  • Use a provider portal or an API to receive and send SMS programmatically. Avoid sending or receiving SMS externally from device to device.
  • Let your cellular service provider block all unused services.
  • Reduce SMS and voice service consumption to a limit that works for your business.
  • Reduce the numbers reachable via voice.

 3. Data services

This one is the most widely used telecom service in the sphere of IoT. Devices tend to send incredibly large quantities of data intentionally or unintentionally because of an attacker’s misuse or an error in the firmware or application.

You can prevent unwanted expenses by asking your IoT cellular connectivity providers to reduce the usage for every SIM card based on the expected behavior of the use case or the device.

Conclusion

An internet-connected machine, regardless of what it is, can become a target for hackers. They can exploit such a gadget for any number of nefarious purposes. There’s a bigger problem lurking out there, though. With every passing day, industrialists are connecting many new devices to their IIOT infrastructure without incorporating sufficient security measures.

This issue brings down the technical bar for even low-level hackers with malicious intent. It’s safe to say that the attacks on IIOT devices will only escalate as the world becomes more modernized, especially after connecting more smart devices. Therefore, the bottom line is that every industrialist should prioritize IIOT security. The same goes for software and app developers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Industries are already using various kinds of IoT devices, such as supply chain robots, construction vehicles, agricultural sensor systems, wind and solar power, smart irrigation, etc.
Wi-Fi is primarily for consumer IoT gadgets. When it comes to IIOT machinery, industrialists have to rely on cellular connections, such as 4G LTE or 5G NR.
An attack surface is a point or part of a system through which an attacker or unauthorized user can try to penetrate it.

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Jayanti Katariya

At the core, Moon Technolabs is driven by the vision, sharpness and flourished under the leadership quality led by none other than the founder & CEO i.e, Mr. Jayanti Katariya. His simple-approach & never-give-up attitude is the virtue or rather aptitude that the entire team tries to grasp and follow. From client relations to business development, from industry updates to floor walking, he does everything in his power to provide support to the team.

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