Aug 25, 2015

What security risks are created by the Internet of Things?

I read warnings about the Internet of Things creating possible security issues, but really, what kinds of threats are posed? I mean, I guess someone could theoretically turn my heat or A/C up or down if they gained access to my Nest thermostat, but are there more serious risks posed? Is this something to be concerned about, or is it just fear mongering?
There are greater risks than someone just jacking up your A/C in the middle of winter. At DEF CON, the recent hacker conference, a team found a vulnerability in a current generation "smart" refrigerator that allowed them to execute a man in the middle (MIM) attack. From Geek:

"....allowed them to extract Google login credentials from the refrigerator when it attempts to update its Google Calendar app. The hack is a result of the fridge not checking proper security credentials on one end of the data transaction. When the refrigerator begins the process of updating Google Calendar with a user’s current schedule, it provides its own security authentication, but doesn’t check if the recipient of the data transaction — what is supposed to be Google’s Calendar — has proper security credentials. So, if hackers can pose as Google Calendar, the fridge will just hand over the data, which includes whatever Google login is tied to the calendar."
If you take you home at the moment there's the threat is very minor. But if you look a tad further into the future, where most of the stuff in your house will be connected, the devices are

Depends how much you want to get into it, if you look outside of your house at say road signs, traffic lights, etc. an attack on those can be quite devastating. Back on a privet/individual level, if a denial of service attack is sent to you garage door which doesn't allow you to leave the house when you're in a rush to get to work, or doesn't let you unlock the door to get into the house, it's not horrible but quite a nuisance. Add to that an overwrite to the garage sensors, allowing the door to close whenever it feels like it and you gut a ruined car or a hurt animal.

In my opinion it can be as big of a threat as someone will make it. Depending on the amount of IoT we have around us and our dependency on them, as well as the levels a hacker's imagination and the length they would go to.
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