|IoT devices are more vulnerable than phones or laptops / Photo Credit: Who is Danny (via Shutterstock)|
Andrew Tarantola of Yahoo News, an internet-based news source, said internet connectivity has outpaced our efforts to secure our systems (or devices) against unlawful intrusion, giving cyber attackers new ways to harm or intimidate their targets. Security expert and author of Power to the People Audrey Kurth Cronin delved into the history of technological innovation and its impacts on international terrorism. Gunpowder, dynamite, cyberattacks, 3D printing, and the like have improved our society but it gives extremists a catalog of weapons to use to commit crime and terrorism. It’s the same with IoT. Everyday objects like door locks, cars, kitchen appliances, etc. have improved. However, such advancements provide attackers with opportunities for hacking, enabling them to wreak havoc.
Sadly, private sector companies compete to launch their products to the market cheaply and quickly, preventing software engineers from incorporating security into their designs. New products are prioritized over security features. Since security measures are lax, companies are often not held legally responsible for hacks. Further, the firms themselves have little incentive to secure or encrypt their data sources as having easy access to data equates to collecting a vast wealth of information about their users. Besides, consumers themselves have little to no control over what information is collected through their devices because they do not own (or have control over) the software that runs them.
Hackers can compromise IoT devices using relatively cheap IoT hacking tools that are widely available for non-state actors. American cryptographer and computer security expert Bruce Schneier, your IoT devices are more vulnerable than your laptop or phone. First, huge corporations like Apple can hire large teams of engineers to secure their products, while smaller firms cannot. Finally, you can replace your phone or laptop every few years, but that is not the case with cars or smart refrigerators. You’ll keep them for the next five or 10 years.
With that, malicious actors have more time to find and exploit vulnerabilities of your IoT devices. Remember, one vulnerability in one internet-enabled device can be used as a springboard to launch attacks on your other connected devices, hijacking your whole computer-assisted life.