New Challenges Created by Internet of Things

More and more devices are being incorporated with Internet connectivity. There are fitness tools with Internet-based sensors and trackers, smart refrigerators and connected toothbrushes to name a few. These items and their virtual representations, collectively referred to as the Internet of Things, are the topic of some of the latest discussions about hacking.

Though the benefits of Internet-based applications and interactions are many, consumers need to be aware of the added risk of hacking that these devices bring with them. It’s no longer just your computers and smartphones that can be hacked.

An article published by and the Agence France-Presse (AFP) covered part of the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) where some light has been shed on these issues.

Director of Symantec Security Response Kevin Haley spoke to reporters at the Las Vegas trade show and is quoted in the article.

“They’re all breachable,” said Haley of these devices, noting however, that they are all impressive.

“If the object is connected to the Internet, you will find it, and if it has an OS (operating system) you can hack it,” said Haley. “As we start to bring all this new stuff in our houses, we’re going to have to take some responsibility.”

This year’s CES has shown a variety of Internet-connected gear, including Internet-enabled door locks and baby clothing that monitors an infant’s breathing and body position. There are more and more innovative devices like this cropping up, so how much do consumers need to worry?

Catalin Cosoi, chief security strategist at Bitdefender, told AFP the threat of these items being hacked remains theoretical, for now.

“I don’t think the bad guys have understood the benefits for them of making use of such things yet,” he said.

However, Cosoi believes a new hacking incident is inevitable.

“We’re definitely going to see something happening this year. We might see the first collateral victim, a person being physically harmed,” he said.

Symantec’s Haley recalled the recent publicized hacking into a nanny cam. He said although it drew headlines, no real damage was done. But that doesn’t mean there’s no potential for real damage. Haley said the same technique used to hack into the nanny cam could be used for industrial espionage.

“If I can break into the security cameras of my competitor’s factory, I can see exactly how the factory works,” Haley said.

This is where some of the biggest security concerns lie – industrial applications. Though it is a concern, people are stepping up to provide extra security measures. Some companies are offering military-grade encryption mechanisms. US cybersecurity officials have increased warnings for hacking into pipelines, power grids and other critical infrastructure.


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