Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Internet of Things – are we ready?

In my last post I presented my concept how to secure the IoT. I’m aware that it is not a full specification or a guide how to do that. I wanted to start a discussion because I see many weaknesses, which can threaten the overall concept of the IoT. As you probably aware every system and network have vulnerabilities. The question is when we discover them. I assume the same scenario will be with the IoT. It doesn’t matter how strong we will secure the end points. There will be always someone who wants to break our protection. Let’s analyze impact of a DDOS attack on the IoT. Today being under attack means you can lose your money, sometimes your reputation, but I don’t think it can really danger your or someone else life. Now, we are just before a big step, which introduces us into the new era. Imagine situation where everything is ‘connected’, what means, it can be targeted by hackers. If you read my previous post you may remember some examples with a TV or a fridge. For such examples I can’t see any serious threats. If your TV or your TV operator become a target, your favorite movie can be unavailable for a while. What about cars, planes, hospitals or medical equipment? For them, I see many possible threats. Let’s imagine that your car which should take an action on a cross road based on the information sent by a street light system. The fact of being under a DDOS attack means it doesn’t get this message. You can also miss, for example, information about a car accident on a motorway. If we become ‘addicted’ from the information, warnings from the electronic devices around us, our reaction can be delayed. What about medical equipment? People at theirs homes with medical monitors can be very weak and vulnerable targets. Based on the information from the devices, hospital can save someone’s life, by sending an ambulance on time. With all these electronic gadgets we will become vulnerable society, but I agree, it is inevitable. The same problem was with the Unix system or TCP standard in the 70’s and 80’s. Both were designed without security features. People didn’t think too much about threats. Today we are aware of them. We know that our badly protected systems will become targets for our enemies. I don’t mean only hackers (rather should say crackers) but also cyber armies. If we become more dependent on the IoT we will be much more vulnerable if the whole system is poorly protected. I know my voice is too weak but what I would like to say, that we should plan the security features first, before we start the revolution.

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