The urge for people and even things to get connected to the internet has become a commonplace in our world today. However, as this urge is being satisfied so do we see some negative impacts being visited on certain quarters. This brings us down to today’s topic [of discourse]- the ‘insecurity behind the Internet of Things’. Before I proceed, I will like to quick mention that things just don’t get connected for fun sake but for the purpose of giving manufacturers valuable information on how the product(s) is(are) functioning.
Back to the topic: In the penultimate year, we saw/heard how hackers exploited the vulnerability of thousands of IoT devices. This, they did by employing the (IoT) devices to carry out Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against individuals and organizations. And these attacks do not seem to be subsiding with vulnerable IoT devices such as home routers and webcams are projects as sources through which the personal information of unsuspecting consumers can be extracted.
In addressing the issue, cyber security expert Mikko Hypponen who spoke extensively on the ‘dangers and benefits of living in smart device-centric world’ a conference, pointed out that the ‘WannaCry’ cyberattacks- which could be termed ‘cyber nuclear bomb’- has resulted in the largest outbreak of DDoS till date. WannaCry is a ‘ransom trojan’ and what this connotes is that the hacker gains control of a company’s information in a bid to later sell such (information) to the highest bidder- in which case is often the ‘rightful’ owner of the information. In order to achieve a far reaching result, hackers usually target companies with large database and/or companies that have the capacity to pay the ransom. Hypponen further disclosed that WannaCry attacks could be the reason why display go out of working order when they are not meant to.
Delving into the matter further, the Blockchain- the foundation upon which Bitcoin is laid- has been found to give another twist the concept of IoT as it does appear to help in fending off cyberattacks. However, the extent of its effectiveness is yet to be ascertained but Mikko is quite optimistic about its potentials.
Indeed the unpleasantness of these cyberattacks could have heightened the fears of those who detest seeing everything turning ‘smart’- Internet of Things devices. But they may just have to learn to appreciate and live with the consciousness of the fact that ‘smart’ things have come to stay as the world of technology keeps evolving.