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Top 10 Secure Design Best Practice Guide for IoT

A Guide from Joushen, cybersecurity services provider in KSA

The Internet of Things is rapidly expanding, and with it, the potential for security threats. As a result, it is more important than ever to implement secure design practices for IoT devices. This blog post will provide you with the top 10 secure design best practices for IoT.

1. Classification of Data

  • Define a data classification scheme and document it, this is vital for making sure that your data is properly protected.
  • Data can be classified as:
    • Public: This data can be freely accessed by anyone.
    • Confidential: This data can only be accessed by authorized users.
    • Sensitive: This data must be protected from unauthorized access, modification, or disclosure.

2. Physical Security

  • Physically barring access and removing all means of unwanted connection.
  • This includes:
    • Placing IoT devices in secure locations.
    • Using access control lists to restrict access to IoT devices.
    • Disabling unused ports and interfaces on IoT devices.

3. Device Secure Boot

  • Having a fully assured first boot stage is vital to ensuring the subsequent stages can be trusted, where every stage is checked for validity before initializing, minimizes the risk of rogue code being run at boot time.
  • This will help to prevent unauthorized code from being executed on IoT devices.

4. Secure Operating System

  • ‘Hardening’ the operating system helps protect against this by using the latest software, removing all unnecessary access rights and functions, and limiting visibility of the system.
  • This will help to protect the operating system from vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers.

5. Application Security

  • Whether using software developed in-house or 3rd party applications, good software design practices must be followed, this includes:
    • Using input validation to prevent injection attacks.
    • Using strong encryption to protect sensitive data.
    • Regularly updating applications to fix vulnerabilities.

6. Credential Management

  • Compromised credentials are the easiest way to gain unauthorized access to data or services. Passwords, encryption keys, digital certificates and other credential data must always be handled securely and updated periodically, otherwise they can become ineffective.
  • This includes:
    • Using strong passwords and changing them regularly.
    • Avoiding the use of default passwords.
    • Using multi-factor authentication.

7. Encryption

  • Always use the strongest encryption algorithm available and only downgrade from that if absolutely necessary.
  • This will help to protect sensitive data from being accessed by unauthorized users.

8. Network Connections

  • It is best practice to ensure the device only makes connections it specifically requires functioning and that any sensitive data (e.g. keys, personal data, passwords) exchanged over those connections are kept secret.
  • This includes:
    • Using whitelisting to restrict access to IoT devices.
    • Using firewalls to protect IoT devices from unauthorized access.
    • Using VPNs to encrypt traffic to and from IoT devices.

9. Securing Software Updates

  • Devices contain a variety of programmable entities, including “software”, “firmware”, “FPGA configuration”, “FLASH data”, etc. A software update (sometimes referred to as ‘patch’) provides a means to fix functional bugs and security vulnerabilities in a device.
  • It is important to have a process in place for securely updating IoT devices. This includes:
    • Only downloading updates from trusted sources.
    • Verifying the integrity of updates before installing them.
    • Installing updates promptly.

10. Logging

  • Event logging is vital for aiding fault and security management, and must be reliable, accessible and most likely confidential too.
  • This will help to identify and investigate security incidents.

By following these best practices, you can help to protect your IoT devices from cyberattacks.

Securing your IoT devices is essential to protecting your business from cyberattacks. At Joushen Cybersecurity, we provide OT/ICS cybersecurity services to help you implement secure design practices for your IoT devices. We can help you to:

  • Identify and assess your IoT security risks
  • Develop and implement a comprehensive IoT security strategy
  • Protect your IoT devices from cyberattacks
  • Respond to and recover from IoT security incidents

Contact us today to learn more about our OT/ICS cybersecurity services.


Mohammed AlMansoor

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