The Internet of Things revolution is set to transform our world. Research firm Gartner estimates that there were 3.8 billion IoT devices in the world at the end of 2015. These devices include connected medical devices, smart home locks, smart automobiles, smart energy systems like wind turbines and solar panels, home appliances and the list goes on. Gartner also predicts that by the end of 2020, there will be 25 billion of such devices in the world. The future of IoT holds endless opportunities, but as our lives and information become dependent on internet and connected devices, our security anxiety is surging.
“Internet of Crappy Things?”
Last year, U.S. Federal Trade Commission chairwoman, Edith Ramirez, clearly outlined in the CES that connected devices and embedded systems for general lives pose massive threats, the primary of which are: ubiquitous data collection, unexpected uses of consumer data an increased security risks. The risks are of such a scale that leading security firm Kaspersky published a report on the threats looming around IoT with a title “Internet of Crappy Things”, detailing all the possible negativities of IoT devices.
In this article we will analyze some areas in which IoT has a key role to play along with the security threats that put the feasibility of implementation of IoT technology in question.
IoT will directly introduce innovation in the automobile industry. We are seeing self-driving cars by Google already on the roads of San Francisco. But here is the security threat: hackers will take control of car systems and manipulate it. Security experts Chris Valasek and Charlie Miller proved this point when they hacked a Toyota Prius and a Ford Escape, simply by connecting a laptop with the car diagnostic system. A survey released by Kelley Blue Book says that over 60% of the potential consumers in the IoT industry believe that connected cars will be hacked.
Online Payments and Transactions
Millions of users transfer billions of dollars daily over the internet every day. Payments systems are being integrated in the IoT devices like wearable and bands as well. This is hugely tempting for hackers, who are already flexing their muscle to breach the IoT payments security and hack these systems. Intel and payment company Visa recently announced to work together to introduce a special security chip for wearable devices that will help avoid the attacks on payments systems. Hackers can easily steal information and data of the users from the non-standardized systems of IoT and use them to make transactions. All the security mechanics that are based on IoT are susceptible to hacks and hackers can verify that they are legitimate users while impersonating.
DDoS using Internet of Things
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) are one of the most lethal attacks that are initiated by hackers against the cyber world. It turns out Internet of Things is more susceptible to this kind of attack than any other realm of the cyber world. Recently, hackers made a special tool called Mirai and launched it in the Dark Web to let even the most amateur hackers to start DDoS attacks on websites and tools. This tool has the power to hack apps, set-top-boxes, routers and other IoT devices. Back in October, over 45% of the world’s internet was impacted after a massive DDoS attack that was launched worldwide. Later researches concluded that Mirai technology was used in the attack and hackers used IoT devices like CCTV camera, DVD players and connected devices to propel an army of bots. These devices, when hacked, can turn into bots and work on the commands of hackers, hereby perpetuating a never ending request flush to the target. These attacks were just a sneak peek into the future of IoT that is riddled with security threats.
Internet of Things Toys, Gadgets and Household Devices
Practically every IoT device is vulnerable to hacks. Recently, hackers hacked Kidizoom smartwatch or a VTech InnoTab tablets that are used by parents to make their kids learn in a fun way. Reports suggest that Hong Kong-based hackers breached the system of VTech and stole information of 6 million children. Also, last year, BlueBox Security and independent researcher Andrew Hay found out countless crucial vulnerabilities in the system of Hello Barbie doll, a toy that does conversations with children based on a Cloud-based AI app. This shows that IoT devices for normal usage, kids and toys have a future full of uncertainties if appropriate measures are not taken.