We usually talk about preventing hacking in our devices. Yet, as consumers, we don't think too much about the network.
With the global explosion of the Internet of Things (IoT), it is important to secure the backbone of those devices: The network. With the network comes the router, which unless it is secure it can leave your devices vulnerable to hacking.
A compromised router can give easy access to a hacker; and from there, they can expand to all the devices in the network. The news constantly reports malicious IoT hacking incidents. We hear about security breaches that compromise privacy and data security.
This is a growing trend that affects everyone. Network security should not only be a concern for network service providers. Users choose their providers. Therefore, we are all involved in the responsibility to keep our network and devices secure.
To ensure proper security we always need to take into account the manufacturer and its supply chain first. Good embedded security into our devices is paramount since it is the first step into protecting our data and privacy. Then comes the network.
The network security offered by service providers is what will determine that every device, including smart home devices, are going to be protected. Last but not least, we all need to follow user good practices; and this starts by remaining vigilant.
The IoT security market
The Internet of Things is a network of devices and objects which are inter-connected through various network technologies. All these connected things can communicate among themselves and also with the external environment.
Combining hardware, embedded software, communication services, and IT services, the IoT facilitates interconnection of end-user devices and the underlying communication devices.
According to enterprise IoT security company Armis:
IoT attacks will evolve in sophistication
Unmanaged and IoT device security will become a board-level priority
CIOs will become the enterprise IoT security stewards
Security frameworks and controls will extend to IoT and unmanaged devices
Network infrastructure will become a new target
Industry research and analyst firm Gartner predicts (client login required) spending on IoT Endpoint Security solutions will increase to $631 million in 2021, attaining a CAGR of 21.38 percent. Worldwide, IoT security expenditure will increase to $3.1 billion in 2021, attaining a 27.87 percent CAGR in the forecast period.
Founded in 2015, CUJO AI, a leading Artificial Intelligence (AI) startup company, delivers solutions to tackle IoT and network security vulnerabilities worldwide. The company's main focus, though, is on the United States and the European Union.
CUJO AI provides Network Operators with cutting-edge AI-driven solutions, including network security, device intelligence, and advanced parental controls through a mobile application providing extended security to the children.
Protecting vulnerable Internet of Things
Anything that is connected to the network is vulnerable. Without taking the proper security measures all connected devices are at risk to be hacked. We need to protect everything from router to devices to network. Everything is part of a whole.
First things first. According to CUJO AI, generic networking equipment such as routers and IoT devices are the weak link. This means that they often have no continuous update program for firmware and software, low lifetime support, and insufficient computational power to host an antivirus or any other security agents.
These devices are almost always left alone without proper supervision. It can be consumer electronics at homes, small and medium enterprises (SME), or even large corporations. Whatever the size of the environment it is crucial to keep up with the evolving threat landscape.
In order to do this, companies need to move away from traditional security approaches and move toward the next generation security solutions, especially security controls that are driven by Artificial Intelligence.
With the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI), it is possible to quickly map a network identifying those devices that might have been left alone and unattended somewhere on the edge of the network.
AI can spot anomalies in real-time. It can identify unusual network traffic patterns. It can proactively track and flag outdated devices which could be the vulnerable door within the network attracting a malicious actor and action.
Protecting a vulnerable network: Why it is paramount
Generic networking devices such as routers and a variety of IoT gadgets exposed to Internet connectivity are quite often left alone without proper supervision, maintenance, and support.
These unattended devices are all exposed to a wide scope of cyber threats and are, obviously, very attractive to cybercriminals. These devices are used as initial entry points to gain a foothold into consumer homes, small and medium enterprises (SME), or even big corporate networks.
The most recent example of this is the hack attempt against Russian PIR Bank, as reported by Dark Reading. A hacker group called MoneyTaker was able to steal roughly USD 1,000,000. This is a clear indicator that even huge companies spending millions on security each year do not have enough control and capabilities to manage those vulnerable entry points within their networks.
As soon as malicious hackers gain a foothold into the network, they can move laterally without using any type of malicious software or advanced malware. These cybercriminals will always rely on pre-existing tools and non-malicious scripts to gain as much information as possible on the environment and achieve their goal.
In most cases, one such goal is to steal money. In other cases, the goal is to exfiltrate data or even damage a brand by encrypting all of the intellectual property and business-critical data. In such scenarios, all of the pricey endpoint solutions and anti-virus agents will be useless in detecting various attack patterns.
Security tips for network operators
Today, with so many IoT devices connected to a network, network security becomes paramount. The innovative CUJO AI Platform is designed to create intuitive end-user facing applications for LAN and mobile.
According to CUJO AI, there are a few things that can help the Security Operations team better protect corporate networks. To build up a strong cybersecurity culture it is paramount to count on a strong foundation.
CUJO AI offers the following five best practices to keep a home or business network and IoT secure:
Define the exact boundaries of an inter-connected enterprise network. That includes all the wireless and remote connections. It covers branches and access points exposed in remote areas as well as any cloud computing, and potentially externally accessible S3 buckets. The key is for every Network Operations Center (NOC) and Security Operations Center (SOC) to understand what the boundaries of the enterprise network are within which all of the business operates.
Enable precise and real-time asset management. Teams have to know all of the devices that are connected to an enterprise network. This needs to be a continuous exercise and task for every SOC and NOC team. The Russian PIR Bank case works as a perfect illustration of what can go wrong. Installed-and-forgotten devices, such as routers, can work as easy and attractive entry points for hackers. They can cause a significant amount of damage to a company, its assets, and brand.
Ensure configuration and software update management of all devices. There has to be a clear process. The technology teams need to know at all times the exact configuration of devices. That way, they can introduce a streamlined and automated patch management strategy, and protection for legacy licensed software components.
Introduce Identity and Access Management (IAM) program. Companies must know who is accessing their infrastructure and when. It is also imperative to know the specific privileges that the users/employees have to operate on these devices.
Implement User Behavior Analytics (UBA) solutions. These allow SOC and Security Teams to know what employees are doing when they access enterprise resources. Defining normal and potentially suspicious behaviors is crucial. As soon as hackers enter the network, they try to behave as ordinary users so that the Security Teams are not suspicious. Solutions that build precise behavioral employee patterns are useful to detect outsiders in an enterprise network.
Award-winning company, a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer: CUJO AI
The World Economic Forum (WEF) recognized CUJO AI as an outstanding new company and honored it as one of its Technology Pioneers.
The Award for Investment Brought to Lithuania is a recognition of the advancement the U.S.-Lithuanian company brings to the country. CUJO AI drew investment from the U.S. telecommunications giant Charter Communications, also being recognized at the Year Glotel Awards 2018.