How safe is the internet of things?
In a hacker convention, 2 guys shared how they hacked into a jeep and took control of it on the highway with just a few lines of code. All they needed was the car’s ip address.
With the Internet of things where cars, homes, household appliances, medical implants, and basically, anything you can think of is connected to the internet, security loopholes in the apps controlling these devices allow hackers to take control of them at will. A prank could lead to a car accident. A person could be killed remotely if the medical implant keeping him alive is hacked into and sabotaged.
Many internet of things devices use a wireless protocol called ZigBee. When these devices start communicating they send out beacon signals which can be intercepted by drones. Tobias Zillner and Sebastian Strobl from ‘Cognosec’ found flaws in ZigBee which allow hackers to take over a ZigBee network and control all the devices connected to it.
Then there is the issue of privacy. While we go about our lives connected through social media with family and friends, checking in to let people know we’re somewhere cool, we leave a trail of data behind. As we use devices and appliances that are connected to the internet, these collect even more data about us. Collectively, all this information can be used to create detailed profiles of each of us and may even contain information that can be used against individuals if in the wrong hands.
Scary isn’t it?
On the privacy front, one should take note of what Snowden risked his life to tell us, and to take active steps to protect ourselves. He gave 3 tips to protect our privacy
1. Use full disk encryption like Truecrypt
2. Use network encryption – browser plugins ans SSL
3. Use TOR to prevent your telco from spying on you by default. https://www.torproject.org/download/download-easy.html.en
Also, use your common sense when using social media. Be aware that whatever you post is not truly private.
As for loopholes that hackers can exploit to take control of internet of things devices, companies like Global Digital Forensics provide services that guard against just that.
Over to you.
Do you think you need to take precautions in using the Internet of Things?