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Is your IoT device insecure? 10 most harmful cybersecurity threats to IoT devices

As businesses globally are growing to meet the most immediate requirements of customers and provide them with best-in-class experiences that form impressions leading to increased brand loyalty.

To increase the accuracy and efficiency of operations and to avoid wastage, they are starting to integrate Internet of Things devices as part of their network infrastructure.

IoT devices attacks and risks

Earlier, IoT was an emerging technology, but today, it has become the most indispensable technology driving change in different industries across sectors. But the catch with these devices is that they are highly vulnerable to cyber attacks due to the low level of security that they come with.

Increased organizations are looking forward to investing in some form of IoT security for the same reason.

Through our blog, we will take a look into some of the most immediate attacks threatening IoT devices today.

But first, let us understand what IoT devices are.

What are IoT devices?

Internet of Things devices are devices used on a day-to-day basis. They comprise sensors, locks, payment kiosks, smart-accessories, and cameras. These devices are connected to external wireless networks or the internet. This external connectivity allows devices to track, monitor, and control assets. A typical IoT system must comprise a CPU, a system software, and in some cases, SIM cards are used to connect IoT devices to the network. IoT devices transmit data using Bluetooth, Wifi, or a data network. They accumulate, process and exchange a lot of data in the interconnected network without much security apart from the default password, making them highly vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

One research found that the growing use of IoT devices would result in a significant rise in the data that is generated. It was found that by 2025, over 73.1 zettabytes will be generated by IoT devices alone. That is a lot of data indeed and protecting all of that data would be a herculean challenge. And the question that remains is whether they are prepared for it.

Why are businesses utilizing IoT devices?

Businesses across multiple sectors are utilizing IoT devices for bolstering their efficiencies and providing new experiences to customers. From the usage of IoT for easy payments at the point of sale to using IoT devices for monitoring assets, IoT devices have become the means of increasing efficiencies across different verticals in businesses. A Forbes research found that over 58% of finance companies have adopted IoT devices for improving productivity and efficiency. It is reasonably clear that businesses today have become highly reliant on IoT devices.

Let us take a look at some of the real-world applications of IoT:

IoT in the industrial sector

IoT devices are used in the industrial sector for smoothening operations. It is used for industrial applications such as monitoring and tracking assets, quality control in production, remote production, and predictive maintenance.

IoT in the transport sector

In the transport sector, IoT devices are used for applications such as tracking goods carriers, measuring weight, and optimizing route plans by keeping track of temperature and conditions. 

PoS devices

Retail stores, hotels, and restaurants are using hand-held IoT devices at their Point of Sale as a means to ease payment for providing new experiences to customers and obtaining key data on sales. 

IoT in the healthcare sector

IoT is helping healthcare workers be it on the frontline or in the operating theater. IoT devices are made specifically to monitor heart rate, blood sugar, and the functioning of internal organs.

Why do IoT devices pose a major security risk?

After ransomware attacks, IoT attacks are the most threatening to the cybersecurity of organizations worldwide. According to Statista, over 33% of companies have concerns regarding IoT attacks and generally, 99% have concerns regarding IoT security due to reasons such as lack of skilled personnel and the ability to protect their most valuable data. IoT devices are purposely built for carrying out simple functions therefore they lack complex security.

Most IoT devices don’t even have a firewall or antivirus in place, making them highly exploitable by malicious actors. They act as a low-hanging fruit for bad actors due to their lack of complex security compared to advanced computers and systems. IoT devices are connected to wireless networks that are wide with a lot of vulnerable points that could be used as entry doors for bad actors to perpetrate attacks by spreading malware. This points towards the fact that IoT attacks are the most immediate risk to cybersecurity. Let us take a look at some of the most immediate threats to IoT devices.

Top 10 threats to IoT devices

DDoS attack

Times are changing and with it, cybercriminals are changing their ways as well. They are utilizing emerging technologies to maneuver an attack. Distributed Denial of Service is a sophisticated attack that modern-day attackers use where they attack a server with multiple IoT devices using botnet malware.  

Brute force attack

Since the only line of defense for many IoT devices are the passwords, cyber attackers use brute force attack. A brute force attack is an attack where attackers use all the possible combinations of usernames, passwords, and email addresses to gain access to an account. They exploit the usage of weak credentials to gain access.

Ransomware attack

It is not wrong to assume that even IoT devices are not safe from the threat of ransomware attacks. Today’s sophisticated attackers block the functionality of IoT devices rendering massive disruptions in industrial operations in exchange for a ransom. 


Cyber attackers these days bypass the security of IoT devices, corrupt their software with malware, and engage in espionage, eavesdropping through the video and audio servers of owners to steal sensitive data. 


In this, the attackers install malware into multiple IoT devices and create an army of dead IoT devices to clog the network with high traffic and spam with excess information. It is one of the most modern attacks affecting millions of organizational networks worldwide. 


Attackers exploit unencrypted telemetry information(data exchange in the form of video or audio) transmission to engage in espionage or hijack. They might steal data, stop the functioning of some devices or manipulate important personal or financial data. 

Hardware tampering

IoT devices are also susceptible to being physically tampered by cybercriminals to perpetrate a targeted attack. They might manipulate their circuitry, ports, and chips and place stickers with default passwords, easing their bypass to breach networks without much effort.

Privilege Escalation Attack

If an IoT device’s operating system is not patched and updated regularly then it can be exploited by a malicious actor to gain complete access to admin control to engage in a full-blown attack.

Firmware Hijack

One of the most common cyber threats to IoT devices is the firmware hijack where the cyber attacker sends a malicious link disguised as a firmware update to the users. Once the user clicks on the link, the attacker gains access to the personal information input by the user or spreads malware to the network.

Malicious Node Injection

IoT devices use the FTP protocol to exchange data. Many nodes are connected on a network that exchanges data and in most cases these nodes are left unmonitored by experts. Cyber attackers infuse the nodes connected in a network with malicious scripts that could help them gain access to sensitive information.


Experts must spread increased awareness such that organizations don’t fall victim to IoT-based cyber threats. We have seen how IoT devices have grown from emerging technologies to becoming technologies that businesses have become dependent on. The absence of security measures in IoT devices has made them vulnerable to many threat actors who would exploit them for data theft or engaging in wide-scale attacks. 

We have taken a closer look into the various cyber threats that endanger the cyber security of today’s IoT devices. 

One way to defend against IoT attacks, is to augment your cybersecurity infrastructure and patch and upgrade the cybersecurity of IoT devices with experts in cybersecurity such as SharkStriker

They have SOCs across the globe and a team that is online 24/7 for 365 days, you needn’t worry anymore about the cybersecurity posture of your organization’s IoT ecosystem.  

Their services encompass the entire IT infrastructure of your organization, including all the IoT devices, cloud ecosystems and endpoints, servers, systems, and applications. They combine our human expertise with AI/ML-driven security solutions to deliver real-time monitoring, identification, and response to threats and vulnerabilities.
About Author :
Anurag Nair
Anurag Nair is a technical content writer at SharkStriker. He has a master's degree in business and has authored technical content in multiple facets of cybersecurity & technology across industries. He possesses extensive industry experience in creating content with a specialty in blogs, articles, newsletters, and white paper content. When he is not creating content, you can find him reading books, writing, and playing video games.

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