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Internet of Thing (IoT) and What It Means to Online Security


The Internet of things is a network of machines, objects, sensors, and other devices which form a connection. Basically, this refers to the capability of devices to connect with one another. Since the Internet and its capabilities have evolved, we are now facing more of the digital world within our physical world. Meaning, many of the vulnerabilities of the digital world, are being brought into real world situations.

From cars to technologies put into our bodies, the digital world is spanning across a wide range of everyday objects and fields. It is now a concern that these digital objects could potentially be hacked, just as computers and smartphones are. What types of objects could essentially put us at risk? 

Automobiles with Internet Capabilities

In 2014, it was shown that a Jeep Cherokee could essentially be hacked in order to disable its brakes and transmission. Based on this research, a recall on 1.4 million vehicles was put into effect. USB drives were sent out to car owners in order to block attacks on the network that connected its cars and trucks. This wasn’t the only automobile-related incident either – there have been issues surrounding geolocate hacking, engine issues due to Trojans, and more.

Medical Community

Within the medical community, plenty of devices and equipment use software to operate. In turn, it’s possible for hackers to potentially intervene. Could hackers deliver a fatal shock to selected targets through their pacemakers? Well, at the University of Alabama, this was tested on a robotic dummy patient used for medical students. The result? The robot was theoretically killed.

There are also concerns regarding drug infusion pumps, which administer antibiotics, morphine, and chemotherapy drugs. It was found by a security researcher that these pumps are vulnerable to hackers. It’s possible that the dose of drugs could be changed remotely. In most cases, these systems will need to be re-architected to make them safe.

All Other Devices and Objects 

From Barbie dolls with Wi-Fi connectivity to baby monitors and smart fridges, anything that connects to the Internet could potentially be hacked. There are even concerns regarding Wi-Fi enabled sniper rifles. The issue is – that when technology is brought out into the market that has never had prior Wi-Fi access, security challenges are created that have never been thought of before.

This is important for both consumers and businesses, as greater security measures need to be considered in the coming years. Before we connect devices to the online world, the possible consequences need to be explored in greater detail.

Epic.org. (2014). Internet of Things (IoT). Electronic Privacy Information Center. Retrieved on January 24th, 2016, from https://epic.org/privacy/internet/iot/

Greenberg, A. (2015). How the Internet of Things Got Hacked. Wired. Retrieved on January 23rd, 2016, from http://www.wired.com/2015/12/2015-the-year-the-internet-of-things-got-hacked/

Sapp, K. (2015). Tesla Hack Explained: Need for Next Generation Secure Access. Pulse Secure. Retrieved on January 23rd, 2016, from https://www.pulsesecure.net/blog/tesla-hack-explained