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Is the Internet of Things putting your business at risk?

01 Sep 2016

Network security needs to be top of mind for decision makers within the business, as more and more device connect to the internet via wireless network technology.

According to Palo Alto Networks, wireless network technology is simultaneously necessary and risky for organisations, and the Internet of Things could be putting businesses at risk of a cyber attack.

“Most businesses are aware that wireless connections can be risky so they look to mitigate the risks by protecting their internal infrastructure,” says Sean Duca, Vice President and Chief Security Officer, Asia Pacific of Palo Alto Networks.

“However, more and more new devices connecting to the internet are part of the Internet of Things (IoT), and may not necessarily come with built-in security measures that devices such as smartphones usually have,” he says.

“The automated nature of these devices and their communication means many businesses may not be aware of the security risks.” 

IoT devices often transmit to and receive data from enterprise networks, creating possible vulnerabilities for organisations. As such, Duca says many cybercriminals are shifting their focus to finding vulnerabilities in mobile devices, networks, and applications to gain unauthorised entry into business networks, or unlawfully obtain sensitive information. 

“Manufacturers of IoT devices are likely to use insecure and vulnerable firmware components, and the risk is exacerbated by the highly-connected and accessible nature of IoT devices,” Duca says,

“It is therefore essential to protect IoT devices against all possible threats.” 

IoT devices may be connected to corporate networks to access and monitor other network equipment. Duca says this provides a perfect opening for malicious hackers to bypass security settings and, once on the inside, gain access to and control over other devices and, potentially, servers. 

“To reduce the risks posed by IoT devices, organisations should use next-generation security technology to focus on network endpoints, such as mobile and portable devices, and the data flows within the network, rather than on simply protecting the internal IT infrastructure,” he explains.

“In addition, mobile network operators need to look beyond just telecommunication and network layer protection to technology that can also provide protection for the application layer and mobile services such as Skype.” 

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