The Future of Connected Devices
Nowadays, anyone can purchase a quality sensor, keyboard, mouse, and other hardware devices at an affordable price. Connected devices may include such hardware devices, or the Internet of Things (IoT), which are “smart”, physical devices that can be connected to the internet. Are you using your smartwatch to keep track of how many steps you take, or how well you sleep? Well, smart watches are just one example of an IoT device which can simply be hacked, with attackers easily gaining access to your private information. Other examples of these devices are Smart TVs, headphones, self-driving cars, coffee makers, and much more. Just recently, a senior researcher proved that a coffee maker can be hacked, since it acted as a Wi-Fi access point, which established an unencrypted and unsecured connection to another app. But worse, what would happen if a hacker would successfully program your coffee machine to attack the router, or other network-connected devices?
In more perilous incidents, hackers have been able to successfully hack into car systems. With automobiles becoming increasingly technologically advanced, although bringing many advantages, there are a number of vulnerabilities that come with such developments. In 2015, two security researchers hijacked a vehicle over the internet and the results were chilling. The hackers were able to turn the steering wheel, briefly disable the brakes, and shut off the engine – all while the driver had zero control. Thankfully, this was just a test; but imagine malicious actors were behind the attack…the consequences could be fatal.
As connected devices become more affordable, more people will purchase them. So, if this trend continues, it is predicted that by only the year 2030, each person will own around 15 connected devices! With this growing trend comes more access points for a bad actor. And, with this, brings the need to monitor more devices. However, the more devices to monitor, the increased chances of vulnerabilities going unaccounted for. This is especially dangerous at a time when hardware-based attacks are becoming more common. Existing security software solutions do not provide protection for such an attack. Hence, you are essentially completely vulnerable and will not even know that you are a victim.
Hardware implants have the ability to perform a number of different attacks – including data theft, malware injection, DDoS, APTs and MiTM, to name a few – all while going completely unnoticed. Hardware implants have been in use since at least 2008. They originally cost around $20,000, but as these attack tools are becoming more common, they are also becoming much cheaper and simpler to use… You can buy the average malicious USB drive, such as the USB Rubber Ducky, for only $50.
So, as the number of connected devices increases, and the ability to carry out a hardware attack becomes easier, one can only imagine what this means for the future of connected devices. Although technological advancements have been transformative in a hugely positive way, we cannot ignore the many dangers that they bring. It is imperative that one does everything they can to ensure that they, and their organization, are protected to the highest possible degree so that the plethora of perks that come with connected devices can be can fully enjoyed.