We are surrounded by IoT (Internet of Things) devices and now rely on them for routine tasks. You interact with an IoT device whenever you answer your doorbell or adjust your thermostat using your phone.

Each IoT device represents a security concern for consumers and cybersecurity experts and an opportunity for cybercriminals. Those concerns expand as sensors, chips, and software make their way into more objects and as these objects become increasingly part of daily life and business operations.

Over 100 million attacks were targeted at IoT devices in 2022 alone, and malware attacks on these gadgets increased by more than 75% in the first half of the same year.

We’ll cover the security issues in the Internet of Things industry, the current state of IoT security, the best security measures, and how businesses and end consumers can prepare for and react to these challenges.

Also Read: Digital Privacy: Tips on How to Protect Yourself on the Internet

What Is IoT Security?

IoT security is the practice of protecting IoT devices, networks, and data from cyber threats. It is a relatively new discipline with ever-growing challenges.

Why Is IoT Security Important?

More and more objects are being fitted with sensors and data-sharing capabilities. For example, there are now smart water bottles, deodorants, and belts.

Each of these devices represents unique and grave security risks due to their unorthodox manufacturing process and the sheer amount of data they manage. They present a gateway for attackers to infiltrate networks and compromise other gadgets connected to them.

Successful breaches of IoT devices can have severe consequences for individuals and businesses. The consequences have been evident in several high-profile cases where IoT devices were used as points of entry to attack networks.

In March 2023, vulnerabilities that would aid attackers in spying were found in intercoms produced by Akuvox, a Chinese intercom manufacturer.

These vulnerabilities and potentially grave consequences highlight the critical need for robust Internet of Things security. People and businesses require the best security techniques, protocols, and components to fully enjoy the benefits of IoT devices without the constant fear of being breached.

What Are the Security Challenges Facing IoT?

The IoT security field gets broader every time a new type of device and application enters the IoT fold. Even electronics that use only Bluetooth connectivity offer threat actors increased attack surfaces.

Also Read: [FIXED] Why Is My Bluetooth Not Working in Windows 10/11 PC

Safeguarding devices whose manufacturing only includes subpar security controls and protocols is an uphill task. That said, numerous other challenges and issues prevent security experts from formulating the right strategies to protect IoT devices against cyberattacks. The following are Internet of Things security issues experts are grappling with.

IoT Devices Are Exposed Over the Internet

IoT objects lack advanced software capabilities to filter and deny unauthorized connections over the Internet. This limitation increases their attack surfaces and explains why hacking campaigns, such as remote code execution attacks, are effective against them. IoT security must cover many entry points to solve this problem.

Limited Resources and Cost

Most IoT devices work with weak, subpar components and lack the technology required to bolster security. Including such capabilities and components will drive up the cost of these devices, reducing their purchase appeal.

IoT Devices Handle Large Amounts of Data

Swathes of data travel between IoT devices and other gadgets and networks daily. Overseeing these amounts of data is one of the IoT security issues that can be quite overwhelming for experts.

IoT Devices Are Diverse

IoT devices come in limitless form factors and offer the broadest functions. In most cases, IoT security has to account for each form factor and function to safeguard a device adequately. This issue highlights the sheer resources required to keep the network protected.

Multiple Connected Devices

Most IoT offerings allow multiple devices to talk to each other within a household or business premises. This mechanism is among the most appealing features of IoT. That said, it poses a serious risk because the least secure device renders the rest of the network vulnerable.

Lack of Industry Foresight

Most industries, from the healthcare to the automotive sectors, are increasingly adopting evolving IoT technology to improve efficiency and reduce cost. However, they are opening themselves up to breaches because security happens to be down on the list of priorities when they decide to install any new IoT device.

Many IoT manufacturers also ignore security in pursuit of cutting-edge features, gimmicks, and faster launches.

Lack of Encryption

IoT devices mostly communicate with other gadgets over unencrypted networks. This way of communication and data transfer means that attackers can easily see what’s happening over the network.

Also Read: File Security: BitLocker Encryption Guide

What Types of Attacks Commonly Compromise IoT Devices?

Bad actors focus on the many vulnerabilities of IoT devices and pick the most effective attacks to compromise these devices. The following are the types of hacking campaigns that IoT devices are most vulnerable to:

Firmware Vulnerability Attacks

Computer, smartphone, and tablet users traditionally operate their devices using operating systems (OS). Every OS runs on firmware, which provides the basic code that handles the hardware. 

Operating systems offer more security controls and support on top device firmware. Users can protect their systems against attacks with regular software and driver updates. For IoT devices, on the other hand, firmware doubles as the operating system but without advanced security. 

Also Read: Ultimate Guide: How to Manually Check and Install Windows Updates

Some IoT device firmware has backdoor vulnerabilities that manufacturers cannot fix once the device is shipped, leaving it open to attacks.

Cybercriminals can use these backdoors to infect the device with malware, hijack them, and steal sensitive data.

Helpful Read: How to protect your PC and data against backdoor attacks?

On-Path Attacks

On-path attacks are also called man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks. They happen when unauthorized actors intercept, relay, and possibly alter the communication between IoT objects and other devices and networks. 

The attacker places themselves in the communication path, allowing them to eavesdrop, manipulate data, or impersonate one of the parties. These attacks are possible because IoT data traffic is mainly unencrypted.

You can see an on-path attacker as an embassy staffer who sits in an office waiting to intercept critical visa and passport applications. This employee can read sensitive details about applicants, steal them for personal gain, and even alter or delete them.

Credential Attacks

Most IoT devices ship with default passwords that users can later change. However, some are not easy to change, and users mostly leave them unaltered. These passwords and usernames tend to be weak and guessable, allowing hackers to exploit them and gain access.

Brute-force attacks, where bad actors systematically enter possible password combinations, are commonly used to breach devices.

Also Read: Stay Safe Online: The Best Ways to Store Passwords

Physical Hardware-Based Attacks

Attackers can hack devices after gaining physical access to them. Such devices include stoplights, fire alarms, cameras, and other public installations. While bad actors can only breach one device at a time, information on these objects can allow them to compromise other devices, especially if they share the same network.

Which IoT Devices Are Most Susceptible to Security Breaches?

According to CUJO AI Sentry’s Cybersecurity Report, the following devices are the most attacked globally:

  • Network-Attached Storage Devices
  • DVRs
  • IP Cameras
  • Baby Monitors
  • Audio-Video Devices

That said, other types of IoT devices come under severe attacks annually. For example, an Armis report found that IoT devices in the medical sector are victims of millions of attacks, with nurse call systems representing the riskiest. The report also found that printers, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), and IP cameras top the list of IoT devices facing the most attacks.

What Security Measures Can Better Protect IoT Devices?

One of the issues challenging IoT cyber security is the lack of standardization. Industry consensus on the right security strategies is mainly absent. However, manufacturers can adopt IoT security frameworks to help safeguard devices within and outside the network.

Incorporating IoT Security Frameworks into the Research and Development Phase

Manufacturers can address most IoT security challenges and concerns if they invest more in security for IoT devices from the preliminary stages of production. But it shouldn’t end in the initial phases. Security should be a core aspect of any process throughout the product’s lifecycle.

Every other manufacturer involved in building critical parts of the devices (semiconductor designers and manufacturers, board producers, and software engineers) should also make their products tamper-proof.

Regular Updates

Attackers are always on the lookout for vulnerabilities within security frameworks. Every security component or protocol becomes obsolete when bad actors successfully find ways to exploit them. So, manufacturers must provide the necessary means to deploy regular updates to apply critical security patches. Missing updates for even a few days can render a device vulnerable.

Businesses and users should also be encouraged to apply these updates if manufacturers cannot apply them remotely.

Enforcing Device Authentication

IoT devices are designed to share data with servers, computers, phones, and other IoT appliances. Each device should go through a verification process before accepting any connection request to keep unauthorized devices away from the network.

Most attackers exploit the vulnerability of the current “plug and play” mechanism to infiltrate networks and hijack other devices. Manufacturers can ensure other devices present verifiable authentication, such as PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) and digital certificates, before connection occurs.

Also Read: Pro Tips: How to Create Electronic Signatures

Multifactor Authentication (MFA)

MFA or two-factor authentication adds a layer of protection to the previous point. It can be provided as a recommended security suggestion for users to allow them to authenticate connections using more than one method. This way, attackers won’t have their way even after successfully cracking one entry point.

For example, if a hacker uses brute force or phishing attacks to obtain a device’s password, the user will still be required to go through the second authentication process before they can gain access. At this point, the user can identify the attack and take security measures to stop it.

Related: Ultimate Guide: How to Turn Off Two-Factor Authentication?

Stronger Credential Security

Manufacturers can refrain from using the same credentials or discoverable credential patterns when creating admin login details for devices. They can update these credentials occasionally or devise more straightforward means for users to change them.

A more robust security measure will be to compel users to change admin passwords when setting up devices for the first time. They can also enforce stronger passwords to safeguard against brute-force attacks. For example, admins must combine letters, digits, and special characters when creating new credentials.

Also Read: How to reset a forgotten Windows 10 Administrator password?


Most IoT devices transmit data over unencrypted traffic. This transfer method makes on-path attacks all too easy for cybercriminals to execute. Using encryption technology means third parties cannot easily infiltrate network communication and steal sensitive data. Even if they get hold of the data, they cannot decipher it.

Encryption also aids in authenticating data integrity. Communicating devices can verify that the information received or sent hasn’t been altered during transit.

For example, if an IoT device sends an instruction to another device, encryption can help ensure that the instruction is precisely the one that was sent, without any alterations.

Also Read: Advanced Data Protection: How to Encrypt Files in Windows 10

Security Training and End User Education

IoT security is a relatively new field. Many cybersecurity experts currently need to be better versed in the processes and techniques designed to safeguard IoT devices and networks. Organizations can conduct regular training to teach cybersecurity staff how to secure IoT devices.

They can also educate users on the best security practices for their devices. These include rejecting connection requests from unauthorized devices, regularly updating login credentials, and opting for MFA where available.

Which Businesses Are the Most Vulnerable to IoT Attacks

It’s almost impossible to overstate the importance of IoT security for businesses and organizations that deploy these devices in critical situations. There can be catastrophic consequences if attackers hijack systems using IoT devices in different business environments.

For example, attacks on critical public infrastructure, such as water filtration and flight control systems, can be devastating. In the same way, compromised healthcare devices, such as pacemakers, can present life-threatening situations.

Even when loss of life isn’t a particular concern, businesses can lose significant revenue, resulting in unemployment and reduced quality of life.

According to a Palo Alto Networks IoT Threat report, about 98% of monitored IoT device traffic lacks encryption. This number goes to show that almost every business using IoT devices, from firms in the healthcare sector to organizations in the real estate industry, is vulnerable to attacks.

Concluding – The Future of IoT Security Can Be Bright

IoT devices will continue to permeate our daily lives and business operations, and we cannot ignore their importance. Despite the numerous devastating attacks many industries have faced, IoT adoption continues to experience explosive growth. 

Transforma forecasts that there will be more than 32 billion IoT devices worldwide by 2032. That number may reach 30 billion sooner than that (2025), according to forecasts published by IoT Analytics.

Looking ahead, the future of IoT security is not entirely gloomy. With advancements in AI-driven threat detection, enhanced encryption methods, and the introduction of IoT-focused legislation, we are on the cusp of a brighter future. 

We can realize the vast potential of IoT safely and securely as collaborative efforts between device manufacturers, software developers, and end-users continue to grow. Remember that we are responsible for prioritizing security to ensure a safer future for the Internet of Things.


What Is the Internet of Things (IoT)?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical devices embedded with sensors and software that give them internet connection and data transfer capabilities. Through IoT, everyday objects, from thermostats to wristwatches, become “smart” and can interact with each other and various other appliances and networks.

What Are Internet of Things Devices?

IoT devices are objects empowered to connect to the Internet and share data.