One of the more crucial components in IoT device security is secure password storage. Unprotected passwords, stored in clear text, have been used by researchers to take over millions of devices within seconds completely.
Password management, therefore, is a critical piece in protecting IoT devices. IoT cybersecurity faces many challenges, including the fact that passwords are used for authentication and provide authorization and configuration.
Password management is the process of securing password data while giving authorized users access to it when appropriate.
The following is what password management for IoT cybersecurity entails:
When it comes to enterprise IoT devices, a password management system must be secure and easy to deploy.
Because these devices are located far from enterprise IT networks, they may not access enterprise resources such as user directories or helpdesk apps for password recovery.
Enterprise credential management systems must address issues such as offline access to passwords, which is critical when enterprise IoT devices are not connected to the enterprise network for extended periods.
Assessing Password Managers
In reality, manufacturers know that IoT devices have a minimal life span and do not invest much in developing products with enterprise-grade security capabilities. Because of this, consumers often face various problems with IoT devices.
Common issues include weak security, poor privacy protection, and a lack of continuous software updates to patch known vulnerabilities. IoT devices, which have been in operation for more than one year, are especially at risk.
Password managers are enterprise-grade products when they can protect passwords from attackers who have physical access to a device’s file system via forensic methods or forced enterprise provisioning.
Furthermore, an enterprise-grade product provides a solution that gives users complete control over their data and introduces minimal trust assumptions about third parties such as app developers and mobile device manufacturers.
Storing passwords in clear text exposes them to many cyberattacks, including offline password cracking. To mitigate this risk, enterprise credential management systems offer multiple ways to secure passwords.
A password manager for enterprise cybersecurity is considered to be an effective solution when it provides the following password storage options such as:
- Password in the clear, but protected by a PIN code.
- Password, or biometric authentication.
- Password in the clear but protected by a hardware component that requires authentication to access the password (e.g., Trusted Platform Module).
- Password stored securely and not accessible outside of encrypted storage.
- Packed: Password stored securely and inaccessible even if the device’s storage is acquired and analyzed offline with forensic tools.
It is crucial to have strong authentication in place for password managers. Enterprises should be aware that current mobile operating systems are not designed around cybersecurity and privacy, which reduces the effectiveness of existing multi-factor authentication methods.
Not all password managers offer support for two-factor or multi-factor authentication methods out of the box. Password managers need to support all authentication methods.
To mitigate the risks of offline password cracking, enterprises should offer strong passwords that attackers cannot easily guess via dictionary attacks or any other passive online attack.
A complex password can be generated automatically by a cybersecurity solution to provide extra protection. Password managers should be able to create passwords based on enterprise password guidelines.
Even though cybersecurity is a primary concern for IoT manufacturers, it takes a back seat to other aspects such as cost and convenience. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure that your business is protected.
Consumer IoT devices are the most vulnerable link in the cybersecurity chain due to their poor security design and implementation, which expose user credentials and personal data to risks of theft or misuse.
It’s worth noting that many cybersecurity incidents reported in the news focus on IoT devices, which indicates that cybersecurity should be the main concern for consumers and enterprises alike.