Monday, January 4, 2016

Internet of Things and the Malware of Doom

The Internet of Things (IoT), a network of devices and sensors embedded in physical objects allowing them to communicate with one another, offers its users a blend of opportunity and risk. IoT applications could save businesses and consumers billions of dollars by optimizing energy usage, reducing healthcare costs, and providing innumerable other points of data that help us make better decisions. The potential benefits of having a web of interconnected sensors and devices are limitless but, as with any great power, there is a dark side. In 2015, hackers demonstrated that they could wirelessly seize control of certain new vehicles and in hospitals, where malware runs rampant on medical devices, hackers showed how a drug-dispensing pump could be tricked into administering a potentially fatal overdose. Although efforts are being made to adapt ISO security standards and the IEEE is working on an architectural framework, at present, there are no established standards for security regarding the Internet of Things.

How could IoT expose me to risk?

IoT devices broaden the opportunities malicious hackers have to gain access to systems - more devices mean more potential points of entry to your network. Many manufacturers are looking to create inexpensive, easy to use devices. When scrambling to bring their product to market, these manufacturers may not consider security their top priority. For consumers, the home is held as a place of privacy and safety and it is for this reason that some consumers may not implement the security measures necessary to protect their networks. In the months and years ahead, an open and organized effort to establish security standards for IoT is necessary to protect our data and our homes.