Internet of Things, generally known as IoT, is a network of objects or things. Embedded sensors help connect and exchange data with other objects via the internet. IoT is often related to the concept of smart homes, including devices like home security systems, cameras, lighting, refrigerators, etc. With all this data being transmitted over the internet, it is easy for the data to be modified, deleted, or stolen, which can lead to an invasion, theft, etc.
IoT forensics plays a vital role in maintaining the integrity and security of the data being transmitted. Join us as we explore this fascinating web of devices and how you can get started in this vibrant field of forensics.
What Is IoT?
IoT consists of interconnected devices that have sensors and software, which are connected to automated systems to gather information. Based on the analysis of the information collected, a particular action is created to complete a specific task. IoT allows devices in secure private internet connections to communicate with other devices, enabling them to interact with different networking types.
IoT is being used in consumer applications like intelligent home automation; assisting elderly and disabled people; organizational applications like medical, healthcare, and transportation; industrial applications like manufacturing units; and infrastructure applications. A Statista study shows that the global IoT market will rise to $1.6 trillion by 2025.
The main concern with IoT is to ensure that the networks and devices connected are secure. Each device has a unique identifier and can also transmit data over a network automatically. As these devices connect to the internet, it exposes them to many vulnerabilities if they aren’t protected. IoT security has become an essential concern after recent incidents which involved IoT devices infiltrating and attacking the network. It is necessary to provide good security as numerous devices are connected, and an attack may result in data loss of many devices present in the network.
What Is IoT Forensics?
IoT has numerous devices and things connected to the internet, and organizations are opting to use IoT for various reasons like automation, simplification, and other advantages IoT offers. With the increase in several IoT optimizations, attackers have found multiple ways through which they can gain unauthorized access to data and other important files. IoT forensics deals with the complete investigation process of crimes related to IoT. It follows the same procedure as computer forensics, i.e., identification, preservation, analysis, presentation, and report writing. Apart from the standard devices used, IoT forensics also investigates data stored in the cloud. Cloud computing is a major contributor to IoT as all the data is kept in cloud storage.
The evidence collected can be broadly categorized as:
- Intelligent devices and sensors (gadgets, smart devices, smoke detectors, doors, etc.).
- Hardware and software evidence (firewalls, IPS, computers, etc.).
- External sources (areas outside networks that are under investigation like cloud, social media, network providers, etc.).
There have been a lot of discoveries of new methods, techniques, etc., in the field of technology. While it is now being used to complete basic day-to-day activities, technology hasn’t matured enough to be used safely. Security being of critical importance, it’s necessary to ensure that the IoT network and environment are completely protected. Some of the challenges that need to be resolved are:
- Implementing security at the design phase: Try to include security at the start or the planning phase of development. Enable security by default and provide the latest operating system and secure hardware.
- Use of hardcoded credentials: You should never use credentials that are not encrypted. You can request users to change the credential before use and maintain the standard password policy.
- Digital certificates (DC) and public keys: Digital certificates and public critical infrastructures are very crucial with respect to IoT security as they state if the device is secured or not.
- Identity management: Each device should be given a unique identifier to learn and understand what the machines do. This can be used to identify devices which were part of the cyberattack.
- API security: Application Performance Interface security ensures that the applications used are secured and do not have loopholes which can be exploited.
- Network security: Network security is the most critical aspect of security. Attackers can use various methods to attack via network ports. Hence, it’s essential to protect it by disabling security forwarding and keeping the unused port closed at all times. Install anti-malware software and firewalls to ensure security.
- Patch the vulnerabilities at regular intervals and release new updates to ensure the security of the applications.
Tools Used in IoT Forensics
While investigating a crime-related IoT, it’s crucial to opt for specific techniques and tools that help extract data and analysis of the same to get the results.
The following are the tools used in IoT forensics:
- Zetta: It is an API-based platform based on node js and is used to make HTTP APIs for devices.
- ThingsBoard: It is used for data acquisition and processing as well as device management. It includes all IoT protocols like CaAP, MQTT, and HTTP.
- Kaa is a multipurpose platform for establishing end–to–end solutions. It helps in real-time device monitoring, collecting, and analyzing of sensor data.
- M2mLabs Mainspring: Open-source framework used for device configuration, communication between applications, and data retrieval.
Why Is IoT Forensics Necessary?
Given its widespread use, IoT is essential to keep in mind when designing a secure network. Attackers now target IoT networks and data storage components as the data stored can be confidential. It is also very easy to infiltrate other devices as all the devices in IoT are interconnected. IoT forensics is necessary to ensure that the IoT framework is entirely safe and secure.
IoT forensics has emerged as a vital new subcategory of digital forensics, and cyber forensics investigators need to be up to speed on its latest developments to solve crimes related to IoT. The best way to do this is by enrolling in a certification course which explores IoT in depth. EC-Council’s Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI) program provides extensive training about all things IoT, as well as the digital forensic methods and tools used to extract or retrieve lost data from various devices and platforms. It will help you become a certified forensics investigator and gain employment in both public and government sector jobs.