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Do you Know Which Devices are the Riskiest in your Environment?


 

Overview

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, organizations manage a diverse array of devices within their environments. The specific types of devices vary across industries; for example, hospitals utilize a range of medical devices. However, which device poses the greatest risk to an organization?


Researchers at Forescout Research-Vedere Labs analyzed nearly 19 million devices to determine which category presents the highest risk to organizational environments. The assessment considered several factors, including the "likelihood of device misconfiguration, the number of identified vulnerabilities, exposure to the Internet, and the potential impact on the organization".


The Findings

The riskiest devices include "wireless access points (WAPs), routers, printers, voice-over-IP (VoIP) devices, and IP cameras". The riskiest verticals were "technology, education, and manufacturing". It’s important to note that each category of IT devices, The Internet of Things (loT), Operational Technology, and Internet of Medical Things have risks within the category. Here’s the breakdown:


IT devices are known to be one of the riskiest categories for several reasons:


Wireless Access Points (WAPs): WAPs can be vulnerable to unauthorized access if not properly secured, providing a potential entry point for attackers.


Routers: Often targeted due to their role in directing traffic and potential for being misconfigured or running outdated firmware.


Printers: Frequently overlooked in security assessments, yet capable of storing sensitive documents and susceptible to network attacks.


Voice-over-IP (VoIP) Devices: Can be exploited to intercept communications, launch denial-of-service attacks, or gain network access.


IP Cameras: Vulnerable to hacking, potentially exposing sensitive surveillance footage or being used as a foothold for further attacks.


IoT devices present unique challenges due to their widespread deployment and often minimal security features:


Smart Home Devices: Can be compromised to gain access to home networks or collect sensitive personal data.


Industrial IoT (IIoT): Critical for industrial operations, making them prime targets for disruption or data theft.


OT devices are integral to industrial and critical infrastructure operations but often lack robust security measures:


SCADA Systems: Vulnerable to attacks that could disrupt essential services or cause physical damage.


Manufacturing Equipment: Susceptible to tampering, which could disrupt production or compromise product integrity.


IoMT devices are critical for healthcare operations but can be particularly vulnerable due to the sensitivity of the data they handle:


Medical Imaging Devices: Can be targeted to access sensitive patient data or disrupt healthcare services.


Patient Monitoring Systems: Vulnerable to attacks that could impact patient safety or data integrity.


Recommendations:

Implement Access Controls

  • Divide your network into smaller, isolated segments to limit the movement of potential threats.

  • Ensure that devices only have access to the resources necessary for their function, reducing the potential damage if compromised.


Regular Vulnerability Assessments and Patching:

  • Regularly scan your network for vulnerabilities and ensure all devices are included in these scans.


24x7 Monitoring and Detection:

  • Implement a 24x7x365 Security Operations Center to monitor alerts and suspicious activity.

  • Use security information and event management (SIEM) systems to monitor device activity in real time.


Education and Awareness:

  • Provide regular training for employees on the security risks associated with different devices and best practices for mitigating these risks.

  • Run ongoing awareness campaigns to keep security top of mind for all users.


References:

Seals, T. (2024, June 11). A Look at the Riskiest Connected Devices of 2024. Dark Reading. https://www.darkreading.com/cyber-risk/riskiest-connected-devices-2024

 

How can CyberForce|Q services help you address this risk?


Our team can assist your organization in reviewing the devices on your system and determining the level of prioritization they need. We can conduct a penetration test for your organization to gain thorough understanding of the gaps within your environment. – reach out to solutions@cyberforceq.com.


Learn more about CyberForce|Q.


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