The Internet of Things Will Be Even More Vulnerable to Cyber Attacks
18 May 2017
Assistant Head, International Security
A lock screen from the the WannaCry ransomware attack. Photo: Getty Images.
The recent global ransomware attack, which affected organizations around the world including Britain’s National Health Service, was the first real illustration for many people of the scale and physical consequences a cyber attack might present. Criminal hackers exploited a flaw in ‘retired’ Microsoft software, which is not routinely updated and patched for security, to infect computers with the WannaCry ransomware.
But what if devices were even more vulnerable, running with no built-in security and no opportunity to patch? This is the problem that that the so-called internet of things (IOT) presents. With an anticipated 22.5 billion devices due to be connected to the internet by 2021, the opportunity for holding these devices to ransom will present significant opportunities to criminals and will have serious consequences for providers and users of these devices.
Last year the massive Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack that brought down the Dyn Domain Name System (DNS) service illustrated the vulnerability of certain platforms to attacks using the IoT. During that attack the perpetrators managed to deny access to major platforms like Twitter, Netflix and Facebook for some hours. It was made possible through harnessing poorly protected household devices such as security CCTV and baby monitors which still had the factory password programmed or no built in security.
This attack was …read more