Everyday Things Are Not SafeReality Check

We first need to start by admitting that one of our biggest issues is that we completely skipped over the proper definition of the “Internet of Things (IoT)”.  Many people hear “IoT” and they think of sensors and actuators and new things and smart this, that or the other.  Some people might lump their smartphone into that mix but that is about the extent of it.

A better name would be the Internet of Everyday Things.  The IoT really consists of your wireless keyboards & mice; printers, cameras, security systems and even your coffee makers.  It gets bigger with your cars, dams holding back water and nuclear facilities but, really, it is the everyday things whose lack of security should terrify you.

“Really?  What is somebody going to do print extra pages on my printer”, you might say.

How about use your coffee maker or printer to hack into your network, building, and your computer?  Or perhaps take over your camera to launch the largest denial of service attack ever recorded?  These everyday devices are now being shipped with Bluetooth and WiFi and none of it is very safe and your exposure is growing exponentially.

Look, the future of terrorism will be cyber-terrorism with the goal of causing as much chaos and disruption as possible.  Why spend huge amounts of time and energy on getting somebody into a prime target with explosive materials when a simple hack serves the same purpose?  It is HARD to sneak in explosives, get somebody sufficiently smart to trigger a bomb and yet be willing to sacrifice themselves.  It is EASY to download a rapidly growing list of exploit kits and take over, say, the lights in a building or controlling traffic.  Breaking into your business is one thing, shutting it down will be the next step and causing major disruptions will be right behind.

When we saw the NJ train crash today, our first thought was “was it a hack?”.  How do you know it can’t happen – we don’t know and that lack of any remote sense of security should disturb you on a very deep level.

The IoT is EVERYWHERE and there are few places you can go where something is not communicating without wires and is most likely not secure.  Do we wait for the next 9/11 before we start paying attention?  Hacking your refrigerator is mildly annoying at best – using it to gain access to your alarm system or open your smart door is entirely different – using the one in your office to take over a building is both very real and coming soon to a city near you.

These are real problems, every security expert is freaked out and, we think, most people do not understand the risk.  Look around and see everything that communicates in your world and think about the fact that most of them are completely unprotected.

Are you ready to do something about this massive problem?  Let us know what you think.