By Jim Carlsson
With each device that is connected to the internet comes a new opportunity for cyber-criminals to exploit and new ways for hackers to attack. With the Internet of Things struggling to come to terms with the security challenge, Jim Carlsson, CEO of Clavister, asks if it is really wise to connect ourselves to the internet without pause for thought.
If you haven’t encountered the phrase before, the Internet of Things is the expanding network of interconnected, internet-enabled devices. To give you an idea of scale, this means that controllers for central heating, lighting and a variety of household appliances – from the fridge to your home security system, your satellite TV box, desktop, laptop, mobile and tablet – all have the potential to be talking to each other, communicating to a variety of third parties, and to be controlled from a centralised device. In short, more facets of our lives are being connected to the internet.
Undoubtedly, this level of connectivity offers a plethora of opportunities to propel us towards a more sustainable and energy efficient society as greater control, analysis and insight is presented to consumers and businesses alike. However, it should come with a caveat: the more devices that become internet enabled and the higher the level of connectivity between those devices, the greater the opportunity is for hackers to cause damage and disruption.
Indeed, we have already seen attacks that exploited both ’smart’ household devices and conventional computers. Late last year more than 100,000 consumer devices, including an internet-connected refrigerator, smart TVs and multimedia hubs, were exploited to send more than 750,000 spam and phishing emails. And only this month it was reported that security experts had demonstrated that internet connected light-bulbs could be hacked, disrupted and leave an entire household or business’ network vulnerable.