Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
5/22/2019
09:15 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Consumer IoT Devices Are Compromising Enterprise Networks

While IoT devices continue to multiply, the latest studies show a dangerous lack of visibility into those connected to enterprise networks.

Consumer-grade Internet of Things (IoT) devices continue to multiply within enterprise networks, according to a new report out today that shows these IoT devices open up organizations to a wide range of attacks. 

With data pulled from more than 1,000 enterprise organizations running one or more IoT devices in its network, the "2019 IoT Threats Report" study was conducted by researchers at Zscaler ThreatLabZ. Their goal was to survey the IoT attack surface within typical enterprises by looking at IoT device footprints over the course of a one-month period. It found that the organizations under study were running 270 different IoT device profiles from 153 different IoT manufacturers. All told, these devices pumped out 56 million device transactions over the course of a single month. 

For the most part, all of that IoT data is flying around in the clear. Researchers found that 91.5% of IoT transactions are conducted over a plaintext channel, and a scant 18% of IoT devices running that use SSL exclusively to communicate in enterprise settings.

That low level of encryption should come as no surprise, considering how many consumer-class devices were represented in the mix of IoT devices found in these business environments. Zscaler reports that the top four IoT devices most often seen in the study were set-top boxes, smart TVs, smart watches, and media players. The study shows that in some ways, the IoT phenomenon is just another cycle of the BYOD challenges that security teams were first forced to face a decade ago during the early days of the smartphone boom.

"Many of the devices are employee-owned, and this is just one of the reasons they are a security concern," the report explained.

One of the other big concerns is the high use of default and hard-coded passwords present in IoT devices — a favorite weakness among the most common malware families targeting IoT devices, which included Mirai, Gafgyt, and Hakai. The report said Zscaler blocked about 6,000 malicious transactions on devices during the study period.

"Often, the IoT malware payloads contain a list of known default username/password names, which, among other things, enables one infected IoT device to infect another," the report noted. It explained that Mirai, in particular, also favored leveraging vulnerabilities in IoT management frameworks that could help attackers achieve remote code execution.

Similar to those heady early days of smartphone proliferation, enterprises are reporting extremely low visibility into IoT device prevalence and activity within their networks. A study released by Ponemon Institute earlier this month showed that only 5% of organizations say they keep an inventory of all managed IoT devices. What's more, more than half of organizations do not classify risk from IoT devices based on their functionality or the type of data the devices process or have access to. A lot of this lack of governance boils down to visibility gaps. The Ponemon report found that 49% of enterprises do not regularly scan for IoT devices in the workplace, and only 8% say they have the capability to scan for IoT devices in real-time. 

The good news in all of this is that many enterprises are well-aware of this IoT security visibility gap and are working toward a solution. A study released yesterday by IDG and PulseSecure showed that 46% of enterprises today say that enhancing IoT discovery, isolation, and access control is a top IT priority in 2019.

Related Content:

Ericka Chickowski specializes in coverage of information technology and business innovation. She has focused on information security for the better part of a decade and regularly writes about the security industry as a contributor to Dark Reading.  View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
Data Leak Week: Billions of Sensitive Files Exposed Online
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/10/2019
Intel Issues Fix for 'Plundervolt' SGX Flaw
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/11/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-5252
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-14
There is an improper authentication vulnerability in Huawei smartphones (Y9, Honor 8X, Honor 9 Lite, Honor 9i, Y6 Pro). The applock does not perform a sufficient authentication in a rare condition. Successful exploit could allow the attacker to use the application locked by applock in an instant.
CVE-2019-5235
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-14
Some Huawei smart phones have a null pointer dereference vulnerability. An attacker crafts specific packets and sends to the affected product to exploit this vulnerability. Successful exploitation may cause the affected phone to be abnormal.
CVE-2019-5264
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
There is an information disclosure vulnerability in certain Huawei smartphones (Mate 10;Mate 10 Pro;Honor V10;Changxiang 7S;P-smart;Changxiang 8 Plus;Y9 2018;Honor 9 Lite;Honor 9i;Mate 9). The software does not properly handle certain information of applications locked by applock in a rare condition...
CVE-2019-5277
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
Huawei CloudUSM-EUA V600R006C10;V600R019C00 have an information leak vulnerability. Due to improper configuration, the attacker may cause information leak by successful exploitation.
CVE-2019-5254
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
Certain Huawei products (AP2000;IPS Module;NGFW Module;NIP6300;NIP6600;NIP6800;S5700;SVN5600;SVN5800;SVN5800-C;SeMG9811;Secospace AntiDDoS8000;Secospace USG6300;Secospace USG6500;Secospace USG6600;USG6000V;eSpace U1981) have an out-of-bounds read vulnerability. An attacker who logs in to the board m...