Towards a Framework for Testing the Security of IoT Devices Consistently

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11263)


The Internet of Things (IoT) permeates society in many areas, such as automotive, smart-homes, smart-cities, healthcare, and critical infrastructures. Even if the IoT promises economic growth as well as convenience for users, the security (and safety) implications of the IoT are equally significant. In fact, weak security in IoT devices could have dangerous consequences, such as to a car crash, or an intruder entering in our home. As an example, in October 2016, the distributed denial of service attack on Dyn, a company controlling and managing several DNS services, brought down most of America’s Internet, and was caused by an IoT botnet (Mirai). This is mainly due to an increasing number of vulnerabilities in IoT devices being discovered on a daily basis, and that are the consequence of poor IoT security practices. To properly address the security and testing of IoT devices, the first step is the description of a threat model. However, few IoT manufactures base their testing on sound threat modelling techniques and comprehensive IoT security guidelines.

For these reasons, in this paper we propose a methodological approach for IoT security testing, which extends the OWASP IoT framework to include threat models to guide the selection of tests used to evaluate IoT attack surfaces and associated vulnerabilities. In addition, the proposed extended framework includes indications on how to actually test a given vulnerability and a set of recommended tools for performing the tests. To this end, we have devised a set of procedures associated with the tests, e.g. accessing device hardware or resetting the device. We also describe a set of tests based on the framework we have performed on IoT devices to test their security. In particular, we have tested the framework on a home router, a relatively cheap baby monitor, and a pricey security system. The methodological testing of the devices reported that the baby monitor showed signs of inadequate security, the router patching any known vulnerabilities as expected from a well-known manufacturer, and the security system quashing any penetration testing attempts.


Internet of Things OWASP Attack surfaces Testing methodology 



This work was partially supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 779391 (FutureTPM).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceRoyal Holloway, University of LondonEghamUK
  2. 2.Information Security GroupRoyal Holloway, University of LondonEghamUK

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