Endpoint

The IoT Blindspot

Confusion over whether IT staff or line of business professions are responsible for IoT management and security plays big role in a lack of visibility into those devices.

IoT devices are rapidly populating enterprise networks but 82% of IT and line of business professionals struggle to identify all the network-connected devices within their enterprise.

According to a new Forrester study that queried 603 IT and business decision-makers across the globe with 2,500 or more employees, a key contributor to the IoT visibility problem may be confusion over who is responsible for IoT management and security.

While 50% of survey respondents - which include line of business (LoB) and IT security operations center professionals - say the SOC is responsible for default configurations and management of the devices, confusion exists when it's time to configure the devices, according to the survey, which was commissioned by ForeScout Technologies.

LoB personnel, who are responsible for operational technology (OT)  that runs specific lines of business, often find their role falling under the broad category of connected devices, or IoT.

But when drilling down further on the question of which job titles should be responsible for IoT default configurations, 54% of LoB survey respondents feel it should be overseen by device manufacturers or LoB staff. And 45% of IT respondents agree.

As a result, according to the report, LoB users are deploying devices under the assumption all proper controls are in place without touching base with the SOC. Without SOC professionals involved in the initial setup of the IoT devices, it's difficult to get a clear view into what devices are actually riding on the network.

"There is a lot of confusion and lack of clarity of who should own the security of IoT devices and determine what should happen," says Pedro Abreu, chief strategy officer for ForeScout. "LoBs, like plant managers, have a lot of devices that connect to the network. But they tend to think of health and safety first and not security."

Old Tools vs. New Tools

IoT visibility on the network is also impaired by the use of older security tools that do not scale in an IoT environment, says Abreu.

With traditional security tools, an agent can be installed onto a machine, which then communicates back to the SOC what it is seeing, he notes. But with a number of IoT devices, the ability to add software, let alone security updates, is impossible because the devices are closed in their design, especially in the healthcare industry, Abreu says, pointing to insulin pumps as an example.

"They  [insulin pumps]  connect to the network, but you can't install a network agent on them," Abreu says. "We call this a visibility gap."

He advises companies to just not rely on IP addresses to identify devices that are on their network, but to also have an understanding what the device actually is.

"I need to know if it's a Windows server or an MRI machine built using a Windows server," he notes. "The second step would be to set policies around each device and limit what it can do on the network."

Anxiety and Denial

While 54% of survey respondents feel anxious over the security of their IoT devices, line of business respondents have a somewhat higher degree of anxiety, 58%, compared to 51% for IT counterparts, the survey found.

The disconnect between the two groups may be in part due to LoBs having a greater understanding of the magnitude a breach can have on business operations and their concerns that IT can't provide assurances that IoT devices are secure. Despite these anxiety levels, 59% of survey respondents are willing to tolerate medium- to high-risk levels in fulfilling IoT compliance requirements, the survey found.

And companies often miss the mark in meeting IoT compliance requirements.When a compliance auditor evaluates a company for all the IoT devices on their network, it's fairly common to discover 30% to 60% more devices than the company knew they had, Abreu says.

Srinivas Kumar, vice president of engineering at Mocana, says he was shocked by the study's findings. "The tolerance of risk should be a lot lower," Kumar says. "I think it should be in the single digits of 10% or less [for] who would be willing to tolerate medium or high risk. The consequences could be the loss of life if it were an IoT device like a pacemaker. If safety is an issue or loss of life, then there should be zero tolerance."

In the meantime, 90% of survey participants expect the volume of IoT devices on the network will rise over the next year to two years, the survey found.

Join Dark Reading LIVE for two days of practical cyber defense discussions. Learn from the industry’s most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the INsecurity agenda here.

Related Content:

 

Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
The Year in Security 2018
This Dark Reading Tech Digest explores the biggest news stories of 2018 that shaped the cybersecurity landscape.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises Are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How Enterprises Are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
Data breach fears and the need to comply with regulations such as GDPR are two major drivers increased spending on security products and technologies. But other factors are contributing to the trend as well. Find out more about how enterprises are attacking the cybersecurity problem by reading our report today.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-6345
PUBLISHED: 2019-01-15
The function number_format is vulnerable to a heap overflow issue when its second argument ($dec_points) is excessively large. The internal implementation of the function will cause a string to be created with an invalid length, which can then interact poorly with other functions. This affects all s...
CVE-2018-7603
PUBLISHED: 2019-01-15
In Drupal's 3rd party module search auto complete prior to versions 7.x-4.8 there is a Cross Site Scripting vulnerability. This Search Autocomplete module enables you to autocomplete textfield using data from your website (nodes, comments, etc.). The module doesn't sufficiently filter user-entered t...
CVE-2019-3554
PUBLISHED: 2019-01-15
Wangle's AcceptRoutingHandler incorrectly casts a socket when accepting a TLS 1.3 connection, leading to a potential denial of service attack against systems accepting such connections. This affects versions of Wangle prior to v2019.01.14.00
CVE-2019-3557
PUBLISHED: 2019-01-15
The implementations of streams for bz2 and php://output improperly implemented their readImpl functions, returning -1 consistently. This behavior caused some stream functions, such as stream_get_line, to trigger an out-of-bounds read when operating on such malformed streams. The implementations were...
CVE-2019-0030
PUBLISHED: 2019-01-15
Juniper ATP uses DES and a hardcoded salt for password hashing, allowing for trivial de-hashing of the password file contents. This issue affects Juniper ATP 5.0 versions prior to 5.0.3.