Are They Watching Me?

Posted by Alex Willis on Jul 26, 2017 11:33:43 AM

In security

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Concerns have been raised that the Internet of Things is being developed rapidly without appropriate consideration of the profound security challenges involved and the regulatory changes that might be necessary.

"Experts estimate that the IoT will consist of almost 200 billion objects by 2020." We are putting software everywhere. This is changing the way we live and how we behave and interact with the world around us. As technology becomes more and more deeply integrated into our lives, we become more and more dependent on it. But this dependence makes us vulnerable if technology fails. 

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In a January 2017 article in Forbes, cybersecurity columnist Joseph Steinberg listed many Internet-connected appliances that can already "spy on people in their own homes" including televisions, kitchen appliances, cameras, and thermostats. Computer-controlled devices in automobiles such as brakes, engine, locks, hood and truck releases, horn, heat, and dashboard have been shown to be vulnerable to attackers who have access to the onboard network. In some cases, vehicle computer systems are internet-connected, allowing them to be exploited remotely.

In 2008 security researchers had shown the ability to remotely control pacemakers without authority. Later hackers demonstrated remote control of insulin pumps and implantable cardioverter defibrillators. David Pogue wrote that some recently published reports about hackers remotely controlling certain functions of automobiles were not as serious as one might otherwise guess because of various mitigating circumstances; such as the bug that allowed the hack having been fixed before the report was published, or that the hack required security researchers having physical access to the car prior to the hack to prepare for it.

The U.S. National Intelligence Council in an unclassified report maintains that it would be hard to deny "access to networks of sensors and remotely-controlled objects by enemies of the United States, criminals, and mischief makers... An open market for aggregated sensor data could serve the interests of commerce and security no less than it helps criminals and spies identify vulnerable targets. Thus, massively parallel sensor fusion may undermine social cohesion, if it proves to be fundamentally incompatible with Fourth-Amendment guarantees against unreasonable search." In general, the intelligence community views Internet of Things as a rich source of data.
IoTSF-Logo-Only-2279x1591-1.png As a response to increasing concerns over security, the Internet of Things Security Foundation (IoTSF) was launched on 23 September 2015. IoTSF has a mission to secure the internet of things by promoting knowledge and best practice. Its founding board is made from technology providers and telecommunications companies including BT, Vodafone, Imagination Technologies and Pen Test Partners.

According to Science Daily, IT security experts from Bochum, headed by Dr. Thorsten Holz, are developing a new method for detecting and fixing vulnerabilities in the applications run on different devices -- regardless of the processor integrated in the respective device.

So, to answer the question, "could they be watching you?" Your information has the potential to be accessed, however it is not highly probable that someone would target you. In protecting your small business, proactive management ensures a safer network that minimizes security threats & risks.