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Overcoming IoT Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities In Your Building

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Richard Miller

The increasing connectivity of building control systems and the growing complexity of smart buildings has drastically increased the potential for IoT cybersecurity vulnerabilities. According to a 2019 report, nearly 40% of computers used in smart buildings automation control were affected by malicious cyberattacks in the first half of the year—and cybercrime shows no signs of stopping.

Every new IoT integration is a potential back door to bypass security controls. The higher the number of such connections, the more difficult it is to develop a safe set of access control rules and diagnose cyberintrusions. Understanding common IoT cybersecurity vulnerabilities and how to address them allows you to harness the power of smart technology while safeguarding your assets.        

IoT Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities in Smart Buildings

Smart buildings with newer state-of-the-art control systems without robust security features face unique IoT cybersecurity vulnerabilities, including: 

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Access Control

Selective restriction of access to data and functionalities is critical for maintaining security. This includes managing restrictions on the individual user level as well as VPN configurations.
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Poor Encryption

Data should be encrypted with multiple layers using updated WiFi protocols, and any transmission control protocol ports that are not strictly needed for operation should be closed. End-to-end encryption, multi-factor authentication, and physical tokens are among the best ways to plug security loopholes.
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Lack of Network Segregation

Keeping IT and OT systems in a single network is a serious security risk. For example, without proper security protocols in place, bad actors could gain access to enterprise IT systems via an HVAC system. Network segregation allows you to develop a strong defense strategy that requires multiple layers of controls to be breached to gain illicit access.
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Cloud Attacks

Many IoT devices rely on cloud-based services for functionality. Lack of proper encryption and access control to cloud data transfers increases the risk of security breaches.


While these vulnerabilities are common, they are not inevitable. With the right technology and approach, you can create a strong cybersecurity strategy that minimizes risk while supporting operations.

Best Practices to Overcome IoT Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities

Cybercrime is constantly evolving, and cybersecurity measures must continuously adapt to prevent it. But while the specific threats may evolve over time, these industry best practices that should serve as the foundation of any strategy to combat IoT cybersecurity vulnerabilities in smart buildings:

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Identification

Without in-depth knowledge of connected devices and systems, and their potential vulnerabilities, smart buildings can not be secured. Building operators should have a complete inventory of connected devices, the systems they are connected to, and the on-site and remote access configurations to devices and the systems.
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Protection

Once all components and their associated risks have been identified, the next step is to protect the network. Isolating devices into segmented subnetworks makes it easy to define security rules for acceptable and anomalous behavior. You should also manage access according to organizational needs and industry best practices, including:
  • Remove default or guest accounts
  • Prevent concurrent logins
  • Use of strong passwords
  • Adopt the principle of least privilege to ensure users do not have access that they do not require
Implementing network segregation to isolate building controls traffic through a dedicated controls network or a protected local area network subnet or a virtual local area network adds another level of cybersecurity.
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Detection

Though IT systems have antivirus or anti-malware software to detect instances when a smart building control system has been compromised, OT systems typically do not have such detection systems in place. This highlights the need to incorporate effective detection and traffic analysis capabilities in custom-designed OT systems. Additionally, OT network operators should be trained to identify cyberattacks and understand their potential impact.
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Response

Creating a comprehensive cyberintrusion response plan and regularly practicing responses through structured tests helps clearly define roles and responsibilities within your organization. Your response plan should focus on investigation, containment, and mitigation of cybersecurity threats.
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Recovery

A recovery plan includes a system backup to recover critical data and restore OT equipment and systems in the event of a cyberattack. Your recovery plan should also involve engaging with tenants and occupants to address concerns, analyze the business impact, and understand the legal implications of such an attack.

Protect Your Assets

Buildings IOT can help you determine the IoT cybersecurity vulnerabilities in your building and develop customized strategies that protect your assets. Our end-to-end intelligent building solutions incorporate industry-leading security features at every step to ensure your property is smart and safe.

Buildings IOT offers the state-of-the-art services and products you need to overcome IoT cybersecurity vulnerabilities in your building. Contact our team of experts to learn more about what we can do for you.

 

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