If you’re here to hear about the top 10 ranking of the OWASP IoT-good. Since IoT devices are everywhere over us, they leave private data and confidential information vulnerable to cyber attackers without adequate security in place.

With advancements in technology, our lives are made simpler every day, and the Internet of Things (IoT) is only one such breakthrough that gives us many great advantages, such as putting a smart lock on our doors. These conveniences, though, also come at the expense of our protection and leave us vulnerable to a wide range of cyber threats.

Unsurprisingly, for many customers, defense is considered a top priority. In reality, evidence from a recent United Kingdom survey reveals that protection is the third most important detail for purchasing decisions made by customers. In comparison, the data indicates that “72 percent of those who did not classify ‘security’ as a top-four consideration said this was because they expected security to already be incorporated into devices that were already on the market.”

What is the OWASP IoT Top 10 List of IoT Vulnerabilities?

A guide for suppliers, companies, and customers is the OWASP top 10 IoT vulnerabilities list. Its aim is to help companies and people determine the necessary risk and make an informed decision about the release or purchase of a product.

In an effort to help vendors, developers, and customers alike grasp IoT security threats better and take effective steps to minimize them, the OWASP Internet of Things Initiative gives us the OWASP IoT top 10 list of IoT vulnerabilities.

Weak, Guessable, or Hardcoded Passwords

It’s quick to point out that this problem is in the top 10 of OWASP IoT at No. 1. Most IoT devices are not reconfigured to allow users to alter default passwords, especially those that come with web interfaces, and that leaves them vulnerable to a host of password attacks. When the password can be quickly guessed or brute-forced, why will an attacker waste time attempting to circumvent such security controls?

Another problem is that there is often no way to change the system password, which is a significant weakness when it comes to IoT protection. Although it can make life simpler for remote mechanics to embed set keys into smart devices, it also does it for hackers attempting to obtain access to your gadgets or your network. In comparison, several IoT devices are also published with unstable firmware that includes backdoors for debugging purposes to obtain entry.

Insecure Network Services

Insecure network providers are next on the list of OWASP IoT top 10 vulnerabilities. Also when IoT devices come into operation, network protection tools such as firewalls, intrusion detection system/intrusion prevention systems (IDS/IPS), unified threat management solutions (UTMs), etc., remain important.

Due to unauthorized access (due to default keys, open ports, etc.), IoT protection has also been violated and can theoretically lead to these devices being used as part of a broader botnet. In order to perform threats such as distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on targeted websites or network infrastructure, botnets are also used.

Any additional ways to prevent your computer from being an unwilling participant in such operations and to enhance the security of your network include:

  • Turning unnecessary ports and insecure facilities off,
  • Getting a separate connected device network,
  • Disabling all systems that offer access remotely,
  • Periodic upgrade download, and
  • Using precautions not to communicate with dangerous networks (like public Wi-Fi).

Insecure Ecosystem Interfaces

On the OWASP IoT top 10 2018 ranking, unstable ecosystem interfaces are seventh. On the OWASP Top 10 2014 ranking, it was previously separated into three categories: vulnerable network, cloud, and smartphone app.

Interfaces such as the network, cloud, smartphone, or back-end APIs that allow you to communicate with the smart device may have (or worse, a total lack of) vulnerabilities in authentication/authorization application, security limitations, data filtering, etc. These security vulnerabilities could ultimately lead to the system or some of its associated components being compromised.

Lack of Secure Update Mechanisms

The problem here is that the ability to safely upgrade multiple IoT devices is missing. This is an environment where makers of electronics should really step up their game. For example, in the United Kingdom, a recently proposed bill will make it possible for IoT computer vendors to have a minimum amount of time within which security upgrades would be received by their users.

Update processes, though, are not all all for downloading fixes and shutting bugs, which is why they are on our OWASP IoT Top 10 list at number 4. They also involve the introduction of features like:

  • mechanisms of anti-rollback,
  • Safe distribution (not submitting a clear-text update, signing an update, etc.), and
  • Validation of firmware on the computer.

There is no guarantee that the stability of the IoT system is as predicted to end-users or as expected by developers, given the absence of any stable upgrade process in place.

Use of Insecure or Outdated Components (NEW)

Using obsolete software or referencing unsafe libraries in the code may lead to the overall safety of the product being compromised. From unstable operating system customizations through the use of vulnerable third-party hardware or software modules, IoT vulnerabilities include something that can be used as an entry point or leveraged to perpetuate an attack by inserting flaws into the computer. In addition, threats associated with a compromised supply chain can tamper with the development process early on and stay undetected and have a significant effect on the device’s safety.

Supply chain threats appear to be a major part of the threat environment, with a rise in attacks by 78 percent in 2018, according to an Internet security threat survey by Symantec.

Insufficient Privacy Protection

Next on our OWASP IoT Top 10 list is inadequate privacy protection, which concerns the unsafe collection, processing or distribution of personal data without authorization from the user. Cornell University’s 2017 thesis looks at the data that passive observers (such as ISPs) can collect only by monitoring IoT network traffic, particularly though that traffic is encrypted.

Privacy of data, especially when it comes to IoT, is beginning to be resolved by legislative acts. In addition to the above-mentioned issues, the processing of customer data without explicit permission has been a problem all along. Through capturing and keeping such data, particularly now that IoT is such a huge part of our daily lives, it can also lead to a compromise in our physical world security.

Insecure Transmission and Storing of Data

Insecure data sharing and retrieval are number 7 on the OWASP top 10 list. At this point, it may seem obvious to preserve data protection with experts continuously reminding us about encryption, data classification, and careful handling of classified information, but it’s no surprise that we’re still talking about it given all the data breaches we still see in the headlines on a daily basis.

In addition to reducing access to confidential data in general, ensuring data is encrypted at rest, in transit or in processing is essential. When encryption is not specifically enforced, whether it is absent from the smart devices, it leaves data unprotected and becomes a big IoT security issue.

Lack of Device Management

Much as understanding what assets are on the network is crucial, handling them successfully is equally important. If they communicate with the network and have access to it, regardless of the scale of the devices or their individual costs, so methodically handling them should be one of the key concerns. An integral part of the process should be to invest in network security best practices to upgrade management to safe decommissioning, device control, etc.

Your entire network can be undermined by failing to handle your IoT devices properly (such as relying on outdated approaches such as asset monitoring using Excel spreadsheets).

Insecure Default Settings (NEW)

On your mobile phone, the default keys or system settings are also vulnerable. Although it is often just stupidity on our side that we do not change default settings, device settings such as hardcoded keys, exposed services running with root permissions should not be altered at all times, etc.

Fortunately, these insecure activities are being fought by certain lawmakers. California, for instance, has a regulation forcing manufacturers of IoT products to set special pre-programmed passwords or ask users to update their passwords before accessing the devices.

Lack of Physical Hardening

Hardening the device from physical threats prevents it against efforts to steal confidential information from unauthorized users that can later be leveraged to initiate a remote hack or gain control of the device. For example:

Debug ports that are normally not removed or disabled make hackers open to accessing your computers.
It will expose passwords or other personal data by merely deleting a memory card to read its text.
The use of secure booting helps test firmware and guarantees that the system can run only trustworthy applications.

In Summary: Wrapping Up the OWASP IoT Top 10

The list above of the top 10 IoT vulnerabilities in OWASP does not include distinct recommendations for different stakeholders, yet instead adopts a single approach to resolving IoT vulnerabilities that may impact our computers. This style was primarily adopted by the OWASP IoT top 10 team because there are already detailed guides on IoT security appealing to diverse markets across business verticals.