Practical Advice for Securing IoT Email Against Hackers
- by Brittany Day
In this modern era of connectivity, technology continues to evolve and make life more convenient. Today, email is one of the most popular communication channels among businesses worldwide. However, traditional systems are being replaced by IoT-enabled email systems rapidly.
Wondered why? Well, the global market size of IoT is projected to reach over USD 650.5 billion by 2026, according to MarketsandMarkets. The key factors behind this growth include easy access to high-speed connectivity, affordability, and a rise in the adoption of cloud technology.
Thus, more organizations are leveraging IoT email now to ascertain efficient communications and authentication. Besides, IoT email also helps enhance data-driven decision-making, as well as improve security management. It further helps make IoT device connectivity simpler with varied enterprise systems.
However, rising cybersecurity threats and IoT security challenges are a primary concern among organizations. Statista reported more than 112 million IoT cyberattacks in 2022. Sounds astonishing? But yes, that’s true!
In addition, over 90% of cyberattacks are carried out via email. So, insecure IoT email systems can result in significant confidentiality and privacy risks and can even compromise an organization's IoT devices.
In order to overcome such risks, prioritizing robust IoT email security is the need of the hour. It can secure connected devices and prevent malicious hackers from accessing sensitive data and information.
In this article, we will explore the various challenges businesses face using IoT email and the best strategies to mitigate them. Let’s dive in!
IoT Email Risk Is on the Rise: Understanding the Modern Threat Landscape
No doubt, the number of organizations leveraging IoT email has significantly increased in recent times. However, it comes with a lot of risks for businesses.
Some of the prominent risks include ransomware, malware, phishing, and viruses. Malware involves the use of malicious software in order to make unauthorized actions on the system of the victim.
On the other hand, ransomware is all about holding the sensitive information of the company for ransom. It may include data like financial details, passwords, databases, files, and more.
In phishing attacks, cybercriminals make an attempt to compromise the personal data of IoT email users. The viruses can infect emails and damage programs, slowing down overall performance and deletion of important files.
Owing to the IoT security challenges, businesses have to suffer a lot. Have you ever wondered about the impacts of cyber-attacks on organizations? Well, there are many.
When an organization falls victim to a cyberattack, it may lead to customers losing trust in the brand. As a result, they are not likely to do business with the brand. It can significantly damage the reputation of the organization in the market.
Moreover, the businesses may also experience financial losses. On average, a data breach can cost up to USD 4.24 million, according to Forbes.
Besides that, data breach can also disrupt the operations of businesses and affect their normal functioning. This can further lower the productivity of the organizations and lead to missed deadlines. Ultimately, it may affect relationships with customers. Regulatory and legal consequences are also a possibility.
What are the Top Email Security Threats to IoT Devices?
Now that you know the IoT email risks you face, it is time to explore the top email security threats to IoT devices. Wondering what they are? Let’s explore!
IoT Email Phishing & Spoofing
IoT email phishing and spoofing are techniques in which a malicious entity leverages an IoT device as a proxy to send fake emails. It tricks the users and makes them think that the email is from a person they know or trust.
It convinces the email receivers to click on malicious links or open attachments. Ultimately, it can infect devices with potential malware and disrupt the operations of businesses, thereby resulting in significant losses.
Authentication Weaknesses in IoT Email
Often, IoT devices lack authentication protocols. As a result, IoT email can be vulnerable to spoofing attacks and various other forms of social engineering.
In order to understand this threat better, let’s take an example. For instance, a malicious hacker gains access to the IP address of an IoT device. This can enable the hacker to send emails to different business clients. It may trick the receivers of the email into disclosing confidential information. As a result, it can result in significant losses. Moreover, it also affects the relationship between the client and the business.
IoT Email Encryption Challenges
One of the expected IoT security challenges is the complexity of IoT email encryption. The core goal of encryption is to protect sensitive data. However, encrypting IoT email comes with several challenges due to the presence of a large number of endpoints.
As a result, IoT email is often highly prone to potential attacks. Malicious users can gain access to confidential business data, thereby leading to significant losses.
Use of IoT Email for Sending Malicious Content
Today, more and more cyberattacks target connected devices and send malicious content to users. When the receiver opens such emails, it can corrupt their device or slow the overall performance.
It can affect the trust of the receiver of the business from whose email the malicious content has been sent. This can directly impact the image of the organization in the market.
Lack of IoT Email Privacy
When organizations use IoT email, several devices are interconnected. These devices are connected to the Internet and can collect personal and sensitive data. A lack of email privacy can increase the risk of disclosure of such data to unauthorized users.
As a result, malicious entities may use the data in a way that can lead to reputational and financial damage for businesses.
IoT Email Protocol Vulnerabilities
Email protocols outline the manner in which the emails must be sent, received, encoded, and rendered. However, the lack of robust IoT email protocols creates potential vulnerabilities.
These IoT email protocol vulnerabilities can enable malicious users or hackers to modify emails before they reach the receiver. As a result, the user fails to receive the actual message sent by the business. This can lead to a number of problems, ranging from data loss to miscommunication and service disruptions.
IoT Email Delivery Reliability Concerns
In the IoT ecosystem, a number of devices are connected and send emails. However, not all emails are received. This might be due to connectivity issues and various other reasons.
Such issues can lead to missed notifications or alerts from connected devices. It can ultimately result in reduced performance and may prove to be costly for organizations whose entire operations rely on these devices.
What Measures Can Business Take to Mitigate IoT Security Risks?
Once you are aware of the IoT security challenges you face, the question is – what’s next? Well, you need to find ways in order to mitigate them, streamline the operations of your business, and boost productivity. Let’s dive into the most prominent measures every organization using IoT email must take.
Use DMARC For IoT Email Authentication
Using DMARC is one of the best ways to deal with IoT email security challenges. This robust email authentication protocol offers optimum protection to organizations against phishing attacks on IoT email. It does so by making it difficult for malicious users to imitate legitimate emails from the business domain.
Leveraging DMARC for IoT email authentication can provide organizations with ample benefits. It strengthens the security of emails and ensures that recipients do not get any unauthorized emails. By reducing the chances of message spoofing, it protects the reputation of the brands and enables them to win the trust and loyalty of customers.
Moreover, it prevents the chances of data leaks, thereby securing sensitive business data. DMARC also ensures compliance with the best standards and practices in the industry. Furthermore, it reduces the risk of data breach and security incidents and allows businesses to enjoy more significant cost savings.
Implement Robust Encryption
Implementing encryption is another simple and easy way of overcoming security challenges. It allows businesses to convert sensitive information into a secret code that can only be understood by the receiver. It helps protect the contents of IoT email during transit and prevents access by unauthorized users.
Besides encryption, leveraging authentication is also an excellent idea. Using techniques like multi-factor authentication (MFA) can enable organizations to protect access to different applications and systems.
Use Network Micro-Segmentation
If you want to secure your IoT network, segmenting it from other networks and systems on your network is a good idea. It can effectively prevent attackers from leveraging compromised devices and interrupting business operations.
Verify Firmware Integrity
A number of IoT devices come with default credentials like passwords. Many organizations do not make the effort to change these credentials. This makes it easier for malicious users to gain access to these devices. Therefore, to boost the security of devices, changing the credentials matters a lot.
However, before you change the credentials, make sure to leverage tools to find vulnerable devices on the network. Once you locate them, update their firmware and turn on the secure credentials.
Leverage Runtime Application Monitoring
Runtime application monitoring is an efficient and effective way of identifying potential app bugs during runtime. You can use this technique for IoT devices, mobile apps, and web applications. It helps in identifying potential vulnerabilities before they can cause any real damage.
Utilize Containerization and Sandboxing
Containerization and sandboxing enable developers to put IoT devices in an isolated environment. The core aim is to protect the device from being affected by other services or applications on the network. It allows only authorized data to pass through and prevents unauthorized access by malicious users.
Engage in Secure Software Engineering Practices
To overcome security challenges, organizations can also use secure software engineering practices. This includes testing, code review, and other techniques. It can help in minimizing security vulnerabilities and limiting unauthorized access.
Keep Learning About Securing IoT Email in 2024 and Beyond
The significance of email in the IoT ecosystem cannot be undermined. It will continue to evolve in 2024 and beyond. Email will continue to remain the main channel of business communication. However, with more organizations using IoT email, overcoming the IoT security challenges discussed in this article has become more critical than ever before.
Businesses using IoT email are always at risk of incurring financial losses, damaging their reputation in the market, and losing the trust of their customers. Therefore, it is vital to leverage techniques to mitigate these issues. The best security measures to deal with these IoT security challenges include using DMARC for IoT email authentication, verifying firm integrity, implementing robust encryption, and runtime application monitoring.
Now that you know how to protect IoT email, it is time to leverage these best practices. Connect with knowledgeable and experienced experts and learn more about securing your IoT email and devices.
- Implementing comprehensive email security software can help prevent advanced threats, such as targeted spear phishing and ransomware.
- Keep the integrity of your email safe by securing the cloud with spam filtering and enterprise-grade anti-spam services.
- Get the latest updates on how to stay safe online.
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