IoT Security

In the era of mobile devices and the internet, the increasing dependency of businesses on emerging technologies is not surprising enough. Companies are not shying from employing next-generation technologies to safeguard their business and their customers. Despite all such measures, the incidents of hacking where hackers make use of the same security systems to break into the business keep surfacing at regular intervals.

The recent incident is even more surprising where hackers broke into Casino’s crucial high-roller database of gamblers through an IoT enabled fish tank. Recently, in an event in London, Nicole Eagan, CEO – Darktrace, told how the vulnerability in a connected thermostat, placed in an unnamed Casino, was used by hackers.

The attackers used that to get a foothold in the network,” she explained. “They then found the high-roller database and then pulled that back across the network, out the thermostat, and up to the cloud.”

However, taking a cue from the above incident many casinos have acted smart and have secured their IoT infrastructure in place hackers find difficult to break into.

After over two decades of existence Internet is evolving through devices we are surrounded by everywhere. The complex nature of IoT and network architecture makes us turn a blind eye to the possible security threats these devices pose at our home, office and everywhere. It’s quite rare when people segregate their personal network and official network, especially when being at home. In an IoT enabled smart home the same Internet connectivity is used to connect refrigerator, TV and other smart appliances that are used for official purpose. That becomes the gateway for hackers to sensitive data you may find it crucial either for personal purpose or official.

Smart homes are found to be the most vulnerable. In a recent audit, Israeli researchers found that most of the off-the-shelf smart home devices were accessible from the default factory password. Besides, some of the phone apps that are designed to monitor these devices have serious security flaws and can be used by hackers to sneak into the network. For example, hackers may be having a virtual tour of your home through smart vacuum cleaner connected to the internet.

“It’s probably one area where there’ll likely need to be regulation for minimum security standards because the market isn’t going to correct itself,” says Robert Hannigan, the former head of the British government’s digital spying agency. “The problem is these devices still work. The fish tank or the CCTV camera still work,” he adds.

While it’s too early to say that how soon people will start embracing IoT in a massive way, but considering the investment and push by the global companies, there is every possibility that the whole ecosystem may be far from maturing and being secured. Incidents like the ones that took place in Casino could have more severe damages. Great power comes with great responsibilities and that why It’s time when the industry leaders need to be accountable and answerable if such incidents occur again.

Microsoft has recently announced to invest $5 billion to strengthen its IoT offerings globally. To provide a completely safe IoT network infrastructure the software giant has announced a new OS specially designed for small IoT devices. Similarly, Cisco and Intel are also leaving no stone unturned to grab a lion’s share of the IoT market estimated worth $561 billion by 2022.