Beware the Hidden Dangers of the Internet of Things

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Surveillance Hijacking

Cyber criminals can potentially use your PC or laptop camera to see into your home or office, and even listen in if they can get access to your device's microphone. This breach is not just remote access to visuals and audio – a captured IoT device on your network can passively and actively learn things about the rest of the network using basic Linux networking tools. Given that most IoT devices run Linux, a hacker has a good chance of installing common malware to learn all about you or your company.

This again reinforces the fact that all IoT devices need to be locked down, not just the central control point, such as a router. The security-savvy and technically capable should do regular security sweeps to check for unusual behavior, but unfortunately, "unusual" can be hard to define. You should also be prepared to reset IoT devices back to their factory settings and to reset the credentials to something more difficult at any time.

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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