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Securing the Internet of Things – Risks and challenges


The Internet of Things (IoT) is a trending subject today with more devices connected to the Internet than there are people on Earth. However, it is important for organisations to be aware of the security risks associated with IoT as it becomes the biggest target of criminal organisations and nations.

Armando Dacal, Regional Director – Australia & New Zealand, Palo Alto Networks explains that the IoT is made up of everyday devices that are IP-enabled, can communicate over the Internet, and transmit what may be very important and confidential data.

The massive numbers of devices can only mean there are more ways now to target an organisation. In fact, IDC projects the number of IP-enabled devices will reach 212 billion by 2020 – an enormous number of devices that will form networks, communicate with other devices and share data. There is greater possibility for cyber attacks to occur on these devices.

Palo Alto Networks offers four best practices for organisations to secure IoT devices:

1. Identify and manage IoT devices by protecting them and controlling access to the data.

2. Understand and identify the types of devices that are part of the IoT. Similar to mobile endpoints, the information about the devices could be used to make decisions to protect the device, or its state could be used to make decisions to protect the device and control the data.

3. Protect devices against a spectrum of threats, including exploits and new, unknown forms of malware. This is likely better performed at a network level rather than an endpoint level due to the variety of devices that may exist and the limited endpoint security functions that can be supported.

4. Secure data and application access by using the Zero Trust principles of least privilege access with granular segmentation. 

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