The Internet of Things is here. Interconnectivity between devices is becoming not only common but expected as more of our day to day objects gain online capabilities. From the development of intelligent light bulbs to remotely operated kettles to advanced surveillance systems, we are demanding more from our devices every day. And developers are providing. The problem is that the new capabilities are flawed. Not so much in what they can do but in terms of their vulnerabilities. These technological wizards are churning out amazing new devices but without developing a comprehensive security system working behind the scenes. The more we connect devices, the greater we expose ourselves to cyber attacks. It only takes one chink in the armour and the entire Internet of Things can come tumbling down.
The theory is that in a few short years (perhaps decades), everything will be interconnected in the form of smart cities. Devices will all share information and be relentlessly communicating with one another. Although amazing in theory and a true life changer when it comes to the way in which humans interact and work, the potential for disaster when these sorts of systems are compromised is monumental. Already we have seen corporate giants such as PayPal, Amazon, Twitter, Spotify, Netflix and Airbnb have their websites attacked using botnets. This is the term for malicious software which creates a network of infected computers and/or devices which can be remotely controlled individually or as a group.
Many of us already have Internet of Things devices in our home. Consider your smart TV or even your DVR, cameras with built in Wi-Fi and, for those of you who have children, Wi-Fi enabled Barbie. We expect everything to have Internet capabilities now and increasingly this is a demand which is being supplied. But, as mentioned above, the products we are using are not as secure as one would expect. Security development is lagging behind product development so we are using devices which could not only be compromised themselves but lead to an infection over the entire network using botnets. With everything linked in the way that the Internet of Things allows, one compromised device can lead to malware reaching anything and everything within the network.
Offices and corporations who are beginning to take advantage of admittedly some of the benefits of the Internet of Things are now faced with a new IT security problem. In the absence of inbuilt security capabilities, IT teams must ensure the company is protected through its own network. In the event of a breach, it can be incredibly hard to identify which device within the Internet of Things was compromised, something which must be done before the system can be secured again. All offices should discuss the way in which the Internet of Things will require updated IT security practices.
At the end of the day, the manufacturers of these technologies will eventually provide us with secure devices. However, current systems are still flawed and vulnerable so it is up to us as consumers to do their work for them. Every device from the Internet of Things which is added to your company needs to be protected by your own IT security systems to ensure you are maintaining your responsibility to consumers to keep their data safe. Remember: one chink in the armour is all it takes. Contact Ctrl IT for more information and advice.