But Wait…There's more: IoT Devices Still Terrible at Security

And the hits just keep on coming. In a new study, security firm ForeScout has shown that it takes fewer than three minutes to hack many common Enterprise IoT devices. This in-depth analysis shows the dangers posed by enterprise IoT devices, and seems to reveal that most can act as points of entry into critical enterprise networks.

This new “IoT Enterprise Risk Report,” released October 24, was based on research by white hat hacker Samy Kamkar.

“IoT is here to stay, but the proliferation and ubiquity of these devices in the enterprise is creating a much larger attack surface — one which offers easily accessible entry points for hackers,” said Michael DeCesare, president and CEO, ForeScout Technologies. “The solution starts with real-time, continuous visibility and control of devices the instant they connect — you cannot secure what you cannot see.”

Kamkar’s research focused on seven common enterprise IoT devices: IP-connected security systems, smart HVAC and energy meters, video conferencing systems and connected printers, among others. According to his observations from a physical test situation and analysis from peer-reviewed industry research, these devices pose significant risk to the enterprise. That risk comes mostly because the majority of them are not built with embedded security. Of the few devices that did have some security protocols, Kamkar said many were operating with dangerously outdated firmware.

One of the vulnerabilities discovered was via a physical hack Kamkar performed, giving him access to an enterprise-grade, network-based security camera. The camera was entirely unmodified and running the latest firmware from the manufacturer, and was still vulnerable and ultimately allowed for the planting of a backdoor entryway that could be controlled outside the network.

Key findings of the report:
The identified seven IoT devices can be hacked in as little as three minutes, but can take days or weeks to remediate.

Should any of these devices become infected, hackers can plant backdoors to create and launch an automated IoT botnet DDoS attack, much like what’s been happening over the last week.

Cybercriminals can leverage jamming or spoofing techniques to hack smart enterprise security systems, enabling them to control motion sensors, locks and surveillance equipment.

With VoIP phones, exploiting configuration settings to evade authentication can open opportunities for snooping and recording of calls.

Via connected HVAC systems and energy meters, hackers can force critical rooms (e.g. server rooms) to overheat critical infrastructure and ultimately cause physical damage.

Thanks to vulnerabilities like the ones revealed here, bad actors are now easily able to use insecure devices to gain access to secure networks, and ultimately other enterprise systems chock full of tasty bank account information, personnel files and proprietary business information.

So, that just happened. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle


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