internet of things, security, cybersecurity

(Photo : Sternum)

The Internet of Things is a bustling market, especially after getting a boost from the pandemic that had us move our lives into the digital realm almost entirely for months. As it happens, it’s also a market that hackers are increasingly targeting as part of their nefarious plots. An unsecured router or printer can work as a gateway into a protected network, a hijacked conference call camera can capture sensitive discussions, and a vulnerability on the manufacturing line can leave the entire factory disabled.

The reason why this happens is that we use the word “smart” a bit too liberally when we talk about smart devices. Usually, all it takes for us to consider a piece of hardware as such is its capability to connect to networks and operate with some degree of autonomy or interactivity. While being able of executing its core functions, most smart devices are barely capable of protecting their own runtime integrity. This makes retroactive patching the industry’s main approach to security, which is hardly ideal.

Enter Sternum, an IoT security and insights company. Its latest offering unveiled at the Barcelona Cybersecurity Congress includes a unique platform that enables companies to test their device fleets for vulnerabilities. The tool can simulate a total of 20 most dangerous known IoT cyberattacks on connected devices in real-time, enabling businesses to check whether their IoT fleets are capable of spotting and withstanding such breach attempts. This helps companies test their existing defenses and their devices’ vulnerability to some of the most common and dangerous attack methods out there.

The live attack simulation tool empowers companies to move to a more proactive IoT security doctrine, defusing the attacks before they happen. Sternum’s other products take this vision to a whole new level, extending it to connected devices as well.

Proactive Defense Is Best

Sternum’s Embedded Integrity VerificationTM platforms amps up the protective capabilities of any smart device you deploy it on. The tool deployed hooks across the code the device runs on, giving it real-time protection. It monitors its everyday operations, proactively blocking and red-flagging any suspicious activities, such as attempts to feed the device malicious data or tamper with its usual workflow.

At the core of the approach is Sternum’s patented Exploitation-Fingerprint technology. The idea behind is that patching specific vulnerabilities is ultimately a losing game. Instead, the defending side should look out for general red flags that entire families of cyberattacks share across themselves and halt the actions that hamper the normal functioning of the device.

It’s like in fencing or martial arts: No attack can come out of nowhere, as ultimately, you have to put in at least some speed to make an impact, physics-wise. The footwork and motions you put into gaining this speed can telegraph your intention and the attack vector. If you’re up against a skilled opponent, they’ll likely pick up on that and mitigate your assault.

Sternum effectively turns every smart device into a jiu-jitsu master, always looking out for signs of an impending attack. Once it spots one, it disrupts the attack by striking down the actions that would have allowed the hacker to inject malicious code into the device’s memory or otherwise meddle with its regular functioning. This makes for a fundamentally more proactive approach to security, one that does not have to rely on post-mortem patching, as the platform has indeed been proven capable of shutting down attacks targeting unpatched known vulnerabilities without having to download any updates.

Furthermore, the platform gives companies vast monitoring capabilities for their IoT fleets, with real-time updates popping up on a handy dashboard. With the platform, companies can watch over their devices’ operation in the field to quickly detect possible attack attempts, as well as malfunctions and other behavior anomalies. They can also collect in-depth insights on the quality and the performance of their devices with the rich data from the Sternum platform and other integrations.

Smart tech is at the forefront of the digital transformation taking place across industries around the world today, but without proper protection, it leaves entire sectors vulnerable to catastrophic hacking events. Preventing those is a matter of shifting gears to a more proactive defense model, and Sternum’s solution gives companies just that, turning their smart devices into intelligent ones, capable of defending themselves on their own.

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