The rise in Internet of Things (IoT) solutions has been both a boost and a curse. It has revolutionized entire industries, driving everything from smart cities to AgriTech. On the other hand, the dependence of IoT devices on cellular connections has led to the introduction of new and unprotected endpoints.
The final result?
The connectivity of IoT devices is both a strength and a weakness. While this connectivity enables services and applications that have a positive impact on a business, it also puts the devices, the networks on which they operate, and the businesses themselves at risk. What makes IoT mobile devices unique is that they connect to multiple Fronts are vulnerable.
Who are the main culprits in attacks on mobile IoT devices? Rely on your usual collection of classic cyber criminals – hackers, terrorists, criminals, and script kiddies – all motivated by money, challenge, politics, fun, or a combination.
IoT threats from threat actors
Function attacks exploit gaps in devices or network systems to access control functions, which can affect service operations, spread botnets or start denial-of-service attacks and overwhelm the IoT device and network.
In battery drain attacks, threat actors access the network gateway in which the device is located and “wake up” a battery system component much more often than necessary, discharge the batteries and have to constantly replace them – a costly situation.
Attacks aimed at redirecting data channels
Attackers can spy on and manipulate sensitive information by changing the path of the data on the way to or from the attacked device in the cellular network.
This can be done by maliciously changing the access point name (APN) registered on the device, which exposes the gateway from the cellular network to the open internet. Intervening in the Domain Name Server (DNS) resolution to control the IP address resolved for the APN and using a fake man-in-the-middle cellphone to change the IP address of the requested DNS server . Also known as eavesdropping, these supply chains can massively disrupt or even endanger lives.
IoT devices as attack tools
Hackers can use IoT devices themselves as a gateway to exploit device vulnerabilities to break into a company’s internal systems to steal data, trade secrets, and other critical information. You can use poorly protected IoT devices to launch distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that cripple some or all aspects of a company’s operations.
Denial of Service (DoS)
Attackers can take devices offline by flooding them with information that can cause a crash, shut down manufacturing and monitoring systems, stop electricity production or prevent access to the systems through targeted DoS attacks.
You can exploit flaws in cellular network connectivity protocols to impersonate another legitimate device connected to the service, flood the network to deny service to other endpoints, and an ENTIRE organization or nation with non-targeted DoS – Disrupt attacks.
Finally, attackers can disable business or national services by disabling the logging service of an IoT device while leaving functionality intact to be used in the next phase of a layered attack – service DoS attacks.
ToRPEDO attacks (tracking via paging mEssage Distribution) enable hackers to recognize a device, find its location and identify the device owner. IMP4GT attacks help cyber criminals to exploit integrity protection flaws in the cellular protocol to impersonate devices or users and perform uplink and downlink identity based on their goals and capabilities offered by the unsecured network.
Share data location
Attackers can track the physical location of a device by exploiting existing flaws in communication protocols such as SS7 and Diameter – putting valuable assets transported in connected vehicles at risk. They can also determine when a particular device is entering a particular geographic location, which can trigger a broader attack to harm devices or business processes in a particular area.
Protection against attacks
It is tempting to place the cyber threats challenging mobile IoT devices in the same risk class as smartphones that are already being addressed. It is also easy to assume that mobile IoT devices are only exposed to the same attacks on IoT devices via LAN or WiFi connections.
The reality is that the clash of cellular connectivity and unique IoT vulnerabilities is responsible for the deadly threats putting businesses, government agencies, cellular network operators and cellular users themselves at risk.
To address the cybersecurity of IoT devices, let’s start with a familiar point: Cellular IoT devices are clearly different from other types of end devices such as cell phones and laptops. In contrast to them, the operating systems, communication protocols and applications of IoT devices affect a company’s infrastructure and client implementations or services – thereby challenging IoT service providers to protect against both possible intruders and disruptions.
IoT device service providers need to approach the security issue from the core of the device outward to meet this demand. Yes, you have to protect the hardware and the perimeter. However, you must also secure the layer of connectivity between the device, the cellular network, and other devices in order to scalably mitigate threats to all devices regardless of hardware, software, or usage changes.
What is the solution?
So what’s the solution? Experts say there is only one thing to do: identify and protect cellular communications on first entry pointbefore it reaches the device, with a network-based solution that:
- Avoids all weak points in the cellular network and protects the device against all cyber attack methods
- Continually monitors new and developing threats and updates the system accordingly.
- Immediately applies these updates to all network traffic to protect all devices (new or old, SIM or eSIM based, any make or model)
- Combats all cellular threat vectors for any device including fake cell towers, data channel attacks, malicious SMS and more
- Provides scalability, manageability, device agnosticism, future viability, and other cellular benefits
- Partnerships with cellular network operators, IoT service providers, private networks and EPC providers to provide solutions over public or private cellular networks
These tips can help you turn off the top six threats to your mobile IoT devices so you can keep going as usual.