Application Security Testing To Overcome Iot Threats [4 Ways]

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In simpler, internet-less times, looting banks required the physical presence of masked, gun-bearing robbers. If banks were proactive enough, they could take down the robbers and prevent the loot with tight security force or hamper an ongoing robbery by calling in additional help.

With the internet practically ruling our lives, robbing a bank has become easier, while securing it has become a real headache. Navigating the vast network of interconnected IoT devices poses a significant challenge, particularly in identifying vulnerable nodes, raising the crucial question: without a clear understanding of what needs securing, how can an effective security strategy be devised; opting for IoT penetration testing stands out as a key approach.

Security, in every possible aspect, always remains a pressing concern, requiring immediate, unwavering address from the designated authorities. Despite several occurrences of security breaches, IoT devices do not enjoy the much-deserved attention from their manufacturers. Looking at this laid-back attitude, now governments across the globe are taking over the reins of IoT security testing.

The bipartisan U.S. Senate and House members recently reintroduced an IoT security-focused bill to pass the “IoT Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2019”. This Act is supposed to address the insecurities affecting IoT security threats worldwide. The Japanese government is taking preemptive measures in testing IoT devices ahead of the Olympic games to be held next year. It will take the help of White-hat hackers to attempt to penetrate over 200 million devices to discover insecure devices. With the direct involvement of regulatory bodies, IoT manufacturers will, apprehensively or willingly, divert their eyes and budgets to the security frameworks.

Why the Delay in Addressal?

Let’s just deal with the elephant in the room – great security does not come cheap. It is practically impossible for IoT manufacturers to incorporate excellent security without passing the cost on to the end users, making the overall product expensive and out of reach of the majority. The tech industry is proliferating with innovative startups. With limited funding in hand, they primarily push to release their product to the market as soon as possible. In this entire hustle of faster product release and Agile SDLCs, security takes a back seat. Taking an approach of ‘we’ll deal with it when it comes’, IoT security is often tackled in a reactive manner instead of being embedded into the core of the product life cycle.

Such retrospective dealing may seem to work in the short term, but it is not viable. Releasing a feeble product that is highly prone to security breaches can be more damaging to reputation and funds than the delayed release of a completely fortified, optimally performing product.

Why IoT Devices Face Security Issues?

The IoT revolution is new for everyone, from manufacturers to end users, so there is a lack of experience and thorough knowledge about the technology. There is an absence of proper regulations around the manufacturing, deployment, and use of IoT devices. Also, with continuous innovations and constant updates, it becomes difficult for organizations to upgrade the cyber security framework.

From physical tampering to password attacks, malicious node injections, and firmware hijacking, IoT devices are extremely vulnerable to breaches, making for the preferred penetration gateway for hackers. Identifying all the weak links among the billions of IoT devices is rather difficult, but IoT penetration testing and other issues should be addressed to tighten security.

The California IoT Cybersecurity law has mandated the incorporation of ‘reasonable’ security features in any device that connects to the internet, directly or indirectly. Considering insufficient authentication systems in most IoT devices, the law has been signed to prevent unauthorized access and compromise of sensitive information. The shift to cloud and web-based interfaces has also opened new opportunities for hackers to infiltrate the device. Most IoT devices employ insecure network services, inadequate security configurability, and unprotected firmware.

What should be the action plan for ensuring IoT safety?

It is not feasible to embattle all the possible nodes that might become the access window for hackers. Therefore, it is essential that IoT manufacturers prioritize security concerns by keeping personal safety on top. Manufacturers must devise a detailed review process to detect vulnerabilities and take apt measures to fight them. They should put down stringent regulations and security standards to be adhered to during the manufacturing process. Once, these regulations are implemented, continuous monitoring is required of all the protected nodes. IoT Application security testing should be integrated in the product life cycle to be prepared in advance for any potential breach. Moreover, methods should be devised and implemented to identify and respond to a breach immediately.

4 ways Application Security Testing Can Fight IoT Insecurities

Instead of being an afterthought, security testing of IoT devices should be the driving factor right from the manufacturing process of an IoT device. Application security testing can effectively safeguard a device against potential risks and threats when integrated into the product life cycle from the beginning.

    1. Get a holistic view

      With application security testing embedded from the initial stages, the security aspect is handled at every step. Therefore, instead of returning to detect any flaky behavior after the cycle ends, application security testing enables the developers to identify and address threats immediately.

    2. Monitor compliance

      Automated IoT application security testing can keep track of non-compliant devices in an IoT network, alerting the developers to restrict access to them.

    3. Quarantine devices for anomalous behavior

      Any malicious behavior can be quickly discovered with the help of IoT application security testing.

    4. Continuous supervision

      Post-implementation of security firewalls and mitigation plans, application security testing continuously monitors the IoT network for breach attempts or penetrations and alerts the concerned authorities for remedial actions whenever required.

To Conclude

Securing an IoT network is anything but easy and cheap. It requires delegating a disciplined action plan to protect and monitor billions of interconnected devices. Impregnation of a single device may cause compromise of other connected nodes as well. It is imperative that critical personal information assets are identified and isolated from the network to prevent serious damage in case of a breach. Measures such as two-factor authentication, setting unique passwords, and installation of firewalls have become necessary. While application security testing enables a proactive approach to IoT threats, these steps grant additional protection.

Cigniti possesses rich expertise in Security Testing of enterprise applications, catering to diversified business needs, and serving clients across different industry verticals and organization sizes. Our Web application security testing uncovers vulnerabilities in applications and ensures the application risks are minimized.

Connect with us to leverage a dedicated Security Testing Center of Excellence (TCoE) that has developed methodologies, processes, templates, checklists, and guidelines for web applications, software products, networks, and the cloud.


  • Cigniti Technologies

    Cigniti is the world’s leading AI & IP-led Digital Assurance and Digital Engineering services company with offices in India, the USA, Canada, the UK, the UAE, Australia, South Africa, the Czech Republic, and Singapore. We help companies accelerate their digital transformation journey across various stages of digital adoption and help them achieve market leadership.

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