May 10, 2017

The insecurity of the Internet of Things

‘How can I have a doctorate in physics from MIT and trust technology?

Dr. Herbert Lin, one of the nation’s pre-eminent thinkers on cybersecurity policy, shuns the internet-connected devices that fill some American homes.  He’ll have nothing to do with “smart” refrigerators, hands-free home speakers he can call by name, intelligent thermostats and the like.....Part of what he distrusts is the “internet of things,” and the ease with which hackers can penetrate “smart” devices with digital worms and shanghai them into massive robotic networks to launch crippling digital attacks or generate ever greater quantities of spam.
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Internet-enabled devices are exploding in number. Gartner, a research giant in technology, says the devices will climb from 6.4 billion at the end of last year to 25 billion by 2020. Such growth sharply augments the power of hidden robotic networks, or botnets....Weaponized digital worms are entering the scene and infecting masses of devices that obediently await instructions from a remote master to spring to action, possibly a new botnet attack.
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Many consumers don’t realize that internet-enabled devices are unregulated and insecure – simpleton digital recruits in potential malicious armies.

A botnet already made headlines once. Last Oct. 21, a botnet slowed internet activity to a crawl along the Atlantic Seaboard. A hacker using a malicious worm dubbed Mirai – Japanese for “the future” – took over thousands of internet-connected security cameras and other seemingly innocuous devices and ordered them to fire relentless digital “pings” at a New Hampshire company, Dyn, that oversees part of the backbone of the internet. Dyn was overwhelmed, and popular sites such as Twitter and The New York Times were temporarily inaccessible.
Posted by Jill Fallon at May 10, 2017 2:48 AM | Permalink