What is an IoT (Internet of Things) Attack?

Technology has come a long way in the past century, and one of the best recent additions is the Internet of Things. There are vast IoT applications – ensuring your home is at a comfortable temperature, monitoring your child while asleep at night, and more. Unfortunately, IoT devices are not invulnerable to various attacks on the internet.

Whether you work in healthcare or operate as a mother at home, it’s critical to be on top of your IoT security. This article will discuss IoT, attacks on the system, applicable defense systems, and other valuable information for those who use some of the billions of devices, appliances, and more attached to this versatile system.

What Is IoT?

IoT (Internet of Things) is a format of technology that allows the automation of devices in homes, workplaces, schools, and more. It connects everyday objects to the internet through embedded devices, allowing for clear communication between people, products, and more.

The Internet of Things works to connect devices such as the following:

  • Cars
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Baby monitors
  • Washing machines
  • Thermostats

These can become automated thanks to the Internet of Things.

The IoT is a critical technology, offering the ultimate connection and control without excessive human intervention. Unfortunately, their reliance on computing means they are more vulnerable to attacks.

What Is An IoT Attack?

It’s no secret that our modern lives are intertwined with technology, whether it’s working with a firewall to keep hackers from your stuff or utilizing smart devices to keep your home in check. We use artificial intelligence to keep track of items in our homes, which unfortunately leaves more intimate parts of our lives home to cybersecurity attacks from invaders.

Not only can the Internet of Things harm the home, but it will also impact any workplace that uses IoT for office networks, employee check-ins, and various security systems. There are multiple avenues of destruction for passionate invaders.

Any action that targets IoT devices and networks is an IoT attack. There are several modes of aggression from invaders, including gaining control of your vast wireless network or compromising apps and software systems.

What Are the Types of IoT Attacks?

Internet of Things attacks are versatile and appear often in several ways. For the sake of your devices and overall security, it’s a good idea to be aware of common IoT attacks and potential security solutions to defend your vulnerable information for your home, work, and more.

A few of the most common types of IoT attacks include the following:

  • Eavesdropping: An attacker takes advantage of a weak network. They can then spy on conversations through microphone and camera data and steal sensitive information.
  • Brute-force password attack: Some hackers will try multiple password combinations until they find yours. Many IoT devices are protected with very weak passwords.
  • DDoS attacks: A device isn’t available to the user anymore thanks to traffic flow, caused by a zombified botnet or device.
  • Malicious code injection: Input validation flaws allow criminals to sneak in malicious code. The applications then use the code and the attacker can make changes to their advantage.
  • Physical tampering: Hackers might note the physical location of your valuable devices and steal critical information. They might also add malware through ports and circuits inside.
  • Privilege escalation: The hacker exploits vulnerabilities and crawls their way to the admin level through an escalating chain of vulnerabilities in the system.
  • Man-in-the-middle attack: Cybercriminals use input validation flaws to grab confidential data moving from the device to the server. They then modify essential packets.

Keep an eye out for these in your IoT system.

These attacks each approach protected (or vulnerable) systems in different ways. Some are more clever than others, slipping into the system and stealing valuable information and control before you notice they are there. An IoT attack can leave you feeling defenseless and confused – what leads to an IoT attack?

What Are Surface Areas for IoT Attacks?

Most of the time, IoT devices are not built with an intricate security system to keep hackers at bay. Thus, multiple IoT attack surface selections for those who want to access vulnerable information. They are a weak link for anyone who uses them, whether in a home environment or a fast-paced work environment.

It’s critical to know potential surface areas for IoT attacks on various connectivity systems. There are several zones where Internet of Things attacks surface most often, and thus should be treated with care.

Communication Channels

The first attack surface is communication channels. Often, these channels will connect to IoT devices through an IP address and various routers. There is a dangerous vulnerability, especially with the vast amount of valuable data moving from one device to another. Companies are especially vulnerable to these attacks.

If you use communications channels at home or work that function through an Internet of Things device, ensure you secure them as much as possible. If you do not secure them, it will be simple for communication channels to become vulnerable to attackers from outside networks.


Devices such as smartphones and smart home devices are another vulnerable surface for IoT attacks. There are many parts of devices hackers use to their benefit, such as physical interface, web interface, memory, and more.

Without proper care, IoS hackers can locate loopholes in the device and jump on the device, such as a software loophole. Defend your devices through authentication and other critical defense measures.

Applications and Software

Other security issues can also arise in applications and software. All it takes are threat actors and access to your apps to reveal sensitive data about your organization or devices to those who want to do bad things with them. Applications and software provide one of the most vulnerable entrances to IoT technology.

Any applications or software that connect to an Internet of Things system must be secured. Otherwise, there is a high chance they will come face to face with hackers in your system.

Security Risks To Understand

Many companies, homes, and individuals aren’t aware of the security risks they might face when dealing with an Internet of Things system. Unfortunately, this lack of understanding sets up the ideal backdrop for a hacker to sneak into the system and take what they want without a single detection. It’s vital to understand potential issues.

Let’s dive into a few potential security risks you will handle if you use the Internet of Things devices. Once you have a better understanding of potential risks within your security system, it will be much simpler to enact proper security measures into your Internet of Things system for the benefit of all vulnerabilities.


Convergence is a concept that IoT and IT probably will not come together, and cybercriminals are aware of this assumption. However, it is critical for tech individuals in a company to evolve and understand potential threats to IoT systems. This way, they can be prepared for multiple threats that could come from the Wi-Fi and beyond.

Typically, IoT systems focus on what they can do to keep the systems up and running. The longer they can be online, the better. IT, alternatively, focuses on keeping things secure. Ideally, the two would be able to bring their unique abilities together to create the ultimate environment for a business that wants to keep everything in one piece and protected to the best of their ability.

Minimal Protection/Unencrypted Data

Encryption and vast cybersecurity for confidential data are some of the best defenses a system can have. Unfortunately, thanks to the design of IoS systems, they do not have the room to create network security. They typically push information back into the cloud, which makes items like default passwords and critical messages susceptible as they transfer.

Customer data and medical information are also items that could be up for grabs to anyone who can get a peek inside the transfer. You could have a vast leak in a matter of moments thanks to the lack of protection and defense for the system.

Many companies use a firewall to provide a layer of defense for the information as it moves from one location to the other. However, not every system has the resources to add this layer.

Rogue and Legacy Devices

Another set of cybersecurity threats to your connectivity comes in the form of rogue and legacy devices. These items are devices that are replacements to the original device. They go unnoticed, allowing the intruder to take, change, or erase information while creating a rogue access point to allow them to control your system from their end.

The point of using rogue and legacy devices is to fracture the perimeter of your Internet of Things system to allow them access to your information and, ultimately, control over everything inside. Most hackers are able to go undetected for a long time, which can be destructive if left alone for too long.


Unfortunately, IoT devices are rarely built with the proper mechanisms for defense. They are focused on functionality, rather than keeping intruders away like in more sophisticated computer systems. Thus, they are more vulnerable. However, hackers like to cover as much ground as they can with network traffic – which is where botnets come into play.

Botnets allow attackers to infest multiple devices at once, rather than taking on one at a time. Rather than being limited, botnets allow them to expand their empire drastically. They invade one after the other, forming zombie devices that send out false information and other items to gather additional technology to perform their bidding.

For example, the Mirai botnet was the cause of a massive devastation of systems in 2017. It used a sophisticated DDoS attack, spamming devices and opening ways for multiple botnets to flood more systems. These botnets have even taken on cryptocurrency in specific attacks.


Another form of malware is ransomware. These devices store tons of data, but they are still vulnerable to ransomware attacks. These attacks usually shut down the item’s ability to perform basic functions, stopping the business from moving forward or analyzing critical information through cameras and other vantage points.

One example is the attack on Colonial Pipeline. After an attack in their system where items shut down, Colonial Pipeline decided to close operations out of fear of what else the ransomware might be able to do. As a result, there were vast fuel shortages. However, they did successfully stop the ransomware from spreading across the rest of the technology.


Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to protect what you can’t see. You can have all the best security features, but it won’t matter if you aren’t aware of everything that’s happening in your system. In the IoT ecosystem, there is both a lack of security and an inability for those in charge to see what is happening behind the scenes, leaving valuable information vulnerable.

Visibility is critical to allow qualified individuals to note warning signs and symptoms to address the invader and malware as soon as possible. Without this view in the constantly changing Internet of Things system, there are plenty of opportunities for invaders to sneak by, completely undetected from those in charge.

How to Prevent IoT Attacks

If you have an IoT network, it’s normal to want to prevent cyberattacks from invading your system. But, how? There are several tactics you can take to stop IoT attacks from succeeding on your devices.

Here are a few of the best prevention methods for an Internet of Things system:

  • Use strong and valuable login credentials, changing them every so often.
  • Provide limited data and access to users.
  • Update data and software often.
  • Enable two-factor authentication for all users.
  • Schedule security audits often.
  • Have recovery policies and procedures in place for disaster.
  • Encrypt all data possible on the server.

These are just a few valuable techniques to keep everything safe.

The more security precautions taken, the safer your Internet of Things system will be. The additional effort will prove valuable.

Final Thoughts

If you want to prevent unauthorized access and tempering to your Internet of Things systems, it’s critical to understand what an IoT attack is, popular attack types, potential vulnerabilities in your system, and methods to prevent attacks in the future. IoT systems typically are unprotected, but the correct precautions can keep you safe.

We hope this information comes in handy! It might feel exciting to have an adept IoT system, but it’s critical to take the proper precautions to keep your information safe, whether you have the technology for your home or as a helpful setup for your business. Acting now could save you from lots of pain in the future.

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