[BreachExchange] Cybersecurity Threats in the Age of IoT

Audrey McNeil audrey at riskbasedsecurity.com
Mon Feb 5 20:06:02 EST 2018


Cyber security has become one of the most talked about issues in recent
times due to the massive amounts of hacking stories that have taken place
over the last few years. We can all clearly remember the massive Target
hack and the security breach at Equifax which comprised almost everyone's

Everybody can appreciate cyber security and, in this current climate, must
be knowledgeable of it. More and more of the world is becoming
interconnected and more and more people are going online. This poses a huge
security risk as data from millions of people will, paradoxically, become
more secure and more vulnerable simultaneously. This is cause for great
alarm as the full reach of what a cyber security flaw can produce is still
not entirely known. The Equifax hack would be a sure indicator that, at the
very least, it isn't good.

Not everyone can be sure what will happen but this, of course, cannot get
in the way or inhibit progress in any way. Oddly, these two things must act
in perfect harmony. We must have consistent and eager progress while
maintaining the risk despite our concerns.

This issue does not become any less complex in the Internet of Things. This
new incoming age brings with it all kinds of intricate ways that hackers
and other exploitative programs can deceive and infiltrate our personal
data. During the tech revolution there are a few things to be acutely aware
of in order to prevent a total collapse of your privacy.

The Internet of Things brings with it many innovations that can not only
assist us in our lives but can change our lives all together. Almost
everyone has a smartphone and smart home assistants are already becoming
ubiquitous. We have in our homes all sorts of devices that are constantly
listening and watching us to better our lives and make living easier in
general. We collectively love these devices as they can keep us in order
and drive us closer to a future present only in our dreams.

However, these come with the risks that all electronically inclined and
connected objects do. For instance, say an individual has a smart home
alarm system with a customised 5 digit security code that has all the bells
and whistles. All it takes is someone compromising your network security or
interacting with a security camera in your home to grab that passcode and
have access to your house, alarm free.

The same goes for Apple Pay which, while secure, is one broad hack away
from leaving your personal banking information subject to the view of a
criminal. When most of our electronics that record our voices submit what
they heard to their engine they usually convert it into text. This text can
then be absconded with by a criminal who can use this information against
you. These, for better or for worse, are not even the harshest ways we can
be compromised.

The tried-and-true formula, of course, still reigns true and that is most
individuals do not protect their passwords. Over 80% of all hacks are
completed using social exploits, which is to say that somebody lies in
order to obtain information.

Sometimes a hack can occur from the silliest mistake, like leaving your
password on a sticky note on your computer or written plainly on your desk
so you can quickly remember your login. These mistakes, combined with the
Internet of Things, put you at an even bigger risk as they are now more
ways to find this information using interconnected cameras and voice
recognition software.

Some companies have even decided to switch over to biological
authentication which is usually a retina scan or thumbprint scan. This is
costly and often times averse to the employees. Unfortunately, the risks
associated with online communication and progress are ones not easily dealt

Cyber security teams do the best they can to create anti-malware so that
people who download bad links from their emails don't end up losing
everything. They also create firewall software that prevents your online
connection from becoming compromised disallowing intrusion.

Regardless we can not let the risks impede our progress or our future and
we must do everything we can to make sure we keep our information secure
and our own. That means being careful and cautious while simultaneously
keeping our heads high and our vision glued towards a better world.
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