Cyber security: SMEs better prepared than large firms for IoT attacks

Small businesses are taking more steps to protect themselves against Internet of Things (IoT) cyber security threats than larger organisations, according to a new report.

A survey by security firm Pwnie Express found that despite their lower budgets, SMEs are better informed about the threats facing their IoT-connected devices.

A quarter of SME security professionals did not know what types of attacks hit their IoT devices in the last year – a figure that rose to 41 per cent in large businesses.

Elsewhere, 62 per cent of SMEs knew how many devices were connected to their networks, compared to 47 per cent of security teams at larger companies.

And 64 per cent of SMEs had checked their wireless devices for infections in the last month, while just 55 per cent of large organisations had done the same.

“It’s a bit counterintuitive, because large companies have the finances and the people to secure their connected devices and critical infrastructure, but smaller operations are doing more with less,” Pwnie Express CEO Paul Paget told Help Net Security.

“That said, it is clear that the introduction of IoT into the enterprise is challenging the status quo of IT security across the board.”

One area where large businesses did perform better was in threat response. 73 per cent of large organisations said they felt prepared to respond to IoT security incidents, compared to 60 per cent of SMEs who believed they were prepared.

The report’s authors advised businesses to pay attention to threats that come from non-traditional devices – for example, connected televisions and kitchen appliances – and ensure their security systems can detect issues that they might present.

“Large organisations would benefit from thinking more like the SMEs we saw in our research – knowing what is connected to their networks, regularly assessing the devices in their environment and being ready to respond to IoT threats coming their way,” Paget said.

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