One more tool in a cyber hacker’s kit are so called “smart” connected devices, the use of which is growing as the “Internet of Things” (IoT) takes hold. As reported in the Globe and Mail on June 14th, according to a 2014 Hewlett-Packard Co. research report, 70 per cent of IoT connected devices were vulnerable to hacks through weak passwords or unencrypted connections (see: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/internet-of-things-a-playground-for-hackers/article24953037/).
As reported in the article, according to Ted Harrington, executive partner with Baltimore-based Independent Security Evaluators (ISE), “whether it’s IoT or not, the way that adversaries look at all systems is what’s known as a stepping-stone attack. You attack the weakest device, and an IoT device usually has weak or no authentication with other devices on that same network.” While people may not care whether certain smart devices are hacked (think of your fridge or a lightbulb for instance), those smart devices can be a “chink in the armour of digital security”. According to Mr. Harrington, “all these connected devices are connected to each other: So you compromise that light bulb as a pivot point … you pivot into the network the light bulb is a part of, and now you get the assets that are contained therein”.
Big brother watching as never before. Canadians are wearing technology, carrying it and bringing it into our homes and cars at a rapid rate. Technology growth is not going to slow down. Data security needs to keep up – even if it means securing your light bulbs to protect your computer server.