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Cloudflare Launches Service to Protect IoT Devices

Cloudflare has launched a new service that aims to address one of the most wide-spread issues in today’s connected world: the poor security of Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Cloudflare has launched a new service that aims to address one of the most wide-spread issues in today’s connected world: the poor security of Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Dubbed Orbit, the new service is designed to keep devices safe from vulnerabilities, weak authentication, and other types of threats, the security company claims. Orbit adds an extra layer of security between the device and the Internet, meaning that even devices that can no longer receive security patches can be protected from exploits.

The issue of improperly secured IoT devices has been a hot subject over the past couple of years, fueled mainly by the emergence of IoT botnets such as Mirai and Bashlite. Other IoT threats include Hajime, which hasn’t revealed its true purpose as of now, and the destructive BrickerBot, which permanently disables devices.

While these threats abuse a single vulnerability type, namely the use of hardcoded or easily-guessable login credentials, other IoT malware families attempt to exploit different issues with these devices. Attacks can often result in entire networks being compromised, and patching could prove problematic sometimes, and it either requires massive recalls or isn’t performed in due time by the users themselves.

According to Cloudflare, the newly announced service can address all of these issues at once. Should a vulnerability be discovered, the impacted company wouldn’t have to attempt to patch each of the affected devices immediately, but could resolve it through setting specific rules in Cloudflare’s firewall, thus restricting access to the impacted devices. Devices protected by Cloudflare Orbit can still access the Internet, but only after malicious requests are filtered by the service.

“Orbit sits one layer before the device and provides a shield of security, so even if the device is running past its operating system’s expiration date, Cloudflare protects it from exploits. And while devices may be seldom patched, the Cloudflare security team is shipping code every day, adding new firewall rules to Cloudflare’s edge,” the company explains.

Orbit has been built in collaboration with a number of IoT vendors, and already protects over 120 million IoT devices, Cloudflare says. It allows IoT companies to write logic on Cloudflare’s edge and create firewall rules that are immediately updated to the Cloudflare Orbit layer for all devices, without having to write and ship a patch.

Alongside Orbit, Cloudflare announced Enterprise domains TLS Client Authentication, which attempts to address the issue of authenticating IoT devices while disseminating between authorized company devices and bots only pretending to be. The Client Authentication is a TLS handshake where the client authenticates the server’s certificate but also has a certificate that the server authenticates.

“With Client Authentication on Cloudflare, Cloudflare’s edge handles the load of the TLS handshakes, validating the device client certificates and only sending the IoT infrastructure traffic from authorized devices,” the company says.

Related: IoT Botnets Fuel DDoS Attacks Growth: Report

Related: IoT Malware Will Soon Surround Us: Researcher

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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