IoT Device Identification for Smart Home Security and Automation

IoT Device identification for smart home security and automation

The Internet of Things (IoT) – a vast network of connected devices that exchange data with other devices and systems – is revolutionizing the way we live and interact with technology. Today’s household has an average of 22 connected devices, and the total number of consumer IoT devices was predicted to be about 8.7 billion in 2022. From security cameras and personal assistants, to smartwatches, medical devices and thermostats, the modern home is wired with a lot of intelligence.

As more IoT devices make their way into consumers’ homes, there’s a growing concern over security and data privacy issues among homeowners. IoT devices are prime targets for cyber attacks: global IoT malware attacks shot up 77% in the first half of 2022, according to SonicWall’s Cyber Threat Report. It was worse in North America, where the number of attacks ballooned by 222%. There were 6.7 million attacks on IoT devices in the U.S. alone.

Why all the attacks? Weak passwords, outdated software, misconfigurations, poor data protection, and a lack of security knowledge and protocols among consumers leave IoT devices in the home vulnerable. With the number of devices continuing to grow, keeping track of what devices are on the network – and ensuring they are updated and protected at all times – is more challenging than ever.

To that end, device identification technology is crucial for ensuring the security and reliability of IoT devices in today’s smart home. In this post, we’ll explore key benefits and challenges, and best practices for telecom providers and system integrators looking to implement device identification technology in their consumer offerings.

What is device identification technology? 

Device identification is the process of creating a “fingerprint” of the device that can be used to track the device’s activity, and to understand what other devices connect to it.

Network administrators can use device identification technology to authenticate and validate firmware updates and software patches, and prevent unauthorized network access and manipulation. It helps to ensure devices have the proper security policies and protocols in place.

Challenges of implementing IoT device identification

Because IoT devices come in many different form factors and use a wide variety of operating systems, standardizing device identification techniques is a challenge. The device identification technology must be compatible with multiple platforms and manufacturers, as well as the various protocols devices use to connect to the Internet. 

There are additional challenges, as well. Due to increasing concerns about data privacy, many devices leverage MAC address randomization – the process of concealing the MAC address of a device by using a random, anonymous device identifier in its place – to prevent anyone from monitoring device activity. To make matters even more difficult, the IoT landscape is growing exponentially, with new types of devices being introduced to market all the time. These factors result in a lack of visibility into connected devices, which makes it difficult if not impossible to manage IoT devices effectively or guarantee security.

IoT Devices and Cyber Crime

Meanwhile, hackers have figured out that it can be relatively easy to commit cybercrime using IoT devices. APIs that connect smart devices to the network are often used as entry points to command-and-control centers from which cyber attacks can be launched. SQL injection, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, and man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks are then possible, providing opportunities for bad actors to breach networks.

Another major problem is weak passwords. Many users never change the default passwords of Iot devices, making it easy for cyber criminals to gain access. Even if they do change them, 68% of people use the same password for multiple accounts, so if a hacker breaks into one account, they have the means of breaking into many.

Finally, any unpatched security vulnerabilities in connected devices can be gateways for hackers and cybercriminals to infiltrate the network and wreak havoc. They can also break into corporate networks via IoT devices in the homes of remote employees. Given all of these threats, IoT device identification is an absolutely essential component of home security.

What to Look for in an IoT device ID solution

The very first step in IoT device identification is discovery. If you can’t see a device on the network, there’s no way to identify or protect it. To that end, a good device identification and discovery tool must provide the following critical capabilities:

  1. Automatically and continuously detects all IoT devices connected to the network
  2. Leverages AI and advanced machine-learning techniques to identify and recognize devices passively, without needing credentials
  3. Creates and maintains a complete and accurate inventory of all of connected devices
  4. Goes beyond identifying only the MAC address to reveal the make, model, category and OS of the device
  5. Provides insights into vulnerabilities, and required updates and patches
  6. Easily integrates with your products via a cloud API or SDKs

Lansweeper meets all of these essential requirements. Using Credential-free Device Recognition (CDR) technology, Lansweeper applies big data, AI and advanced machine-learning techniques to identify and recognize devices without the need for credentials, against a database of over 1.3 billion devices across various environments. With Lansweeper embedded into your IoT offerings, your customers gain complete visibility into their network-connected devices, and the confidence that their networks and data are secure and protected.

Securing the Intelligent, Connected Home

In our post-pandemic, digitally enabled world, we are increasingly dependent on technology in our day-to-day lives. Visibility into all of the IoT devices we use throughout the day will be increasingly critical to our personal security, and our ability to rely on technology to perform our daily tasks. IoT device recognition is foundational to empowering the smart home, and, done well, will help market players create differentiation and gain competitive advantage by providing added value to customers.

Lansweeper makes it easy for telecom providers and system integrators to embed Lansweeper into their products, with ready-made SDKs and a powerful cloud API. Alternatively, we offer an offline database and on-premise solution to meet special requirements of sensitive environments. 

Learn more about Lansweeper’s cutting-edge IoT device identification technology and how Lansweeper Embedded Technologies can help you differentiate your products and services.