No device can be safe without regular updates to its software. The same goes for IoT devices. It's also vital to provide secure update mechanisms that don't allow for cybercriminals to misuse the update system to install malware and other harmful programs on users' IoT devices.
The software on IoT devices needs to be verified with secure boot mechanisms like a hardware root of trust – the source of all cryptographic trust within a system.
- No universal and default passwords and credentials
All IoT device passwords need to be unique. On top of that, they shouldn't contain an option for a universal factory reset that gives a default password. The fact that IoT devices have default user credentials that do not vary from device to device has been a large issue for IoT cybersecurity. It's vital to follow the best practices on passwords.
- Secure storage of credentials and other sensitive data
Besides unique passwords, credentials and other sensitive data should be securely stored on IoT devices and services. That also means that no hard-coded credentials can be used.
- Personal data must be protected
GDPR and all other relevant data laws must be respected, which means that consumers need to be properly informed about how IoT devices handle their data.
- User option for deleting personal data
Consumers who purchase an IoT device need to have a way to remove personal data from the devices. Clear instructions and data deletion confirmation must exist as well.
The input data should be validated, as cybercriminals often try to exploit the systems through non-validated data.
- Telemetry data must be examined
If an IoT device sends telemetry data like usage and measurement data, it should be automatically examined for any security anomalies. However, users need to be informed of this.
- Minimizing possible attack surfaces
As is the case with all sound security systems, the 'principle of least privilege' should be used in IoT as well. That means that all unnecessary interfaces need to be closed, and all approved ways of minimizing possible attack surfaces need to be implemented.
- An easy method for managing reports on vulnerabilities
Companies that produce IoT devices and services need to have a clear vulnerability disclosure policy that contains a public point of contact. That will allow for security researchers and others to easily report vulnerability issues.
For communication to be protected in the IoT ecosystem, the best practices of cryptography needs to be used.
- Systems must be resilient to power and data outages
Each IoT device needs to have a built-in resilience that will protect it from unplanned outages of data or power. The device has to remain in operation for as long as possible. Then it has to be able to restore itself fully when data or power is restored.
- IoT device installation and maintenance should be easy
Manufacturers should ensure they create a minimal amount of steps for both the installation and maintenance of their devices. Consumers should be guided through these processes.