Beware the Hidden Dangers of the Internet of Things

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Unsecured Devices

There is often insufficient security functionality embedded within the IoT device, due to a lack of local resources or capacity. This will of course change over time, but for now it needs to be addressed and security might instead need to reside within the web service in front of the device.

In 2013, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission settled with TRENDnet, an IoT vendor that supplied home viewing technology called SecureView. Despite the vendor's claim that its products were secure, they in fact had an exploit that allowed them to be controlled remotely by anyone with the camera's address. There was also a third-party website where absolutely anyone could click a camera to see what the camera could see.

Car manufacturers, such as Jaguar Land Rover, have also had issues – for instance recalling vehicles because their on-board computers had security weaknesses that allowed criminals to easily steal them. Insurance companies consequently refused to insure such vehicles unless they were locked in secure garages.

Ultimately, IoT vendors must do more to build security into their products. Corporate IT departments and consumer customers tend to vote with their wallets and put security over convenience and price when buying IoT devices. Cheap, ubiquitous, and insecure IoT devices are ultimately the cyber criminal's best friend.

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been the subject of industry analyst and tech-media excitement for just about forever. However, in 2015, it finally feels as though we are about to hit the point of no return with IoT – where all, and not just some, IT departments need to consider and address the IT management and security implications of the IoT. The IoT also impacts consumer-world behavior – with technology users needing to ensure that they understand, and fortify themselves, against the security risks associated with the IoT.

From an IT security perspective, cyber criminals must be giddy with excitement when they read that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission estimates that there are now twenty-five billion devices online, with separate research from HP stating that 70 percent of IoT devices are unsecured. Then there's the recent Apple pay-by-phone capability using biometrics and the near field communication (NFC) technology. NFC is nothing new; Juniper Research reports that 300 million NFC-enabled phones are out there already with global NFC transactions worth $50 billion.

What IoT means to cyber criminals is more opportunity to make more money. And it's not as though cyber crime is currently a small market. Europol states the "Total Global Impact of CyberCrime [has risen to] US$3 Trillion, making it more profitable than the global trade in marijuana, cocaine, and heroin combined." In this slideshow, Sarah Lahav, CEO of SysAid Technologies, has identified eight IoT risks that corporate IT departments, and consumer users, need to consider and address.


Related Topics : Blade Servers, Business Integration, Ethernet, LAN, Network Protocols

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