Take a few seconds to round up all of the intelligent gadgets present in your life – we bet that you can’t count them on the fingers of both hands. Currently everything from our fridges, to hand watches has online capabilities. According to the newest “Pinning down the IoT” report, this trend does not come without consequences. While developers are eager to include online functionalities in the systems of their newest products, they often omit crucial security measures, which put consumers at risk.
According to Gartner’s predictions, the number of intelligent devices could increase from 8,4 billion in 2017 to 2,4 billion by 2020. Soon, every appliance in our home will be able to connect to the internet, and we won’t even know about it. These, seemingly mundane accessories will in fact be “intelligent”, even though the benefits of their internet-specific abilities may be negligible. The true motivation behind developing the so-called “smart” solutions will be the collection of personal data. – says Mikko Hypponen, Chief Research Officer at F-Secure.
As recently as in 2016, we were able to see what a major cyber attack on our home devices could look like, and the way in which it would affect technology users across the globe. On October 21st 2016, multiple distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS attacks) were sent out to numerous devices throughout Europe and North America via a malware software called Mirai. As a result, hackers were able to create an “army” of webcams and Smart TVs, which disabled access to major Internet platforms such as Twitter, Spotify, Netflix, and Paypal.
Although the risks are high, tech manufacturers haven’t taken the issue as a first concern quite yet. The push towards mobilization may have to come from the consumers themselves, as studies show that the need for enhanced security is a priority for most of us. According to the newest IoT reports, 96% of companies, and 90% of consumers agree that ensuring Internet of Things security is essential, and would like to see governments take the matter into their hands.
Taking into account the scale of the issue, national governments ought to take steps towards imposing requirements on manufacturers from the IoT sector. We’re not able to sell toys with sharp edges because they could put our children at risk. We can’t sell cars without brakes. Similarly, we shouldn’t be able to sell IoT devices which could clear out our bank accounts. – states Karolina Małagocka, F-Secure’s privacy expert.
While avoiding IoT tech is nearly impossible in the modern world, what we can do is stay aware of the risks tied to leaving our IoT devices unprotected. As the technology blurs not only into our homes, but also commute, schools, and offices, we need strive for its regulation and security.
To find out more about the subject, as well as the newest F-Secure IoT report, click here.