The Threats of the Internet of Things


The Internet of Things is considered to be “the next big thing”. For the ones who have never heard of it before; the Internet of Things is the network that increases machine-to-machine communication. It is built on cloud computing and networks of data-gathering sensors. The Internet of Things makes it possible for electronic objects to be controlled remotely. In simple language: every electronic device that is connected through the internet is part of the Internet of Things. Experts estimate that the Internet of Things will consist of almost 50 billion objects in 2020 (Burrus, 2014).

IoT-Graphic

The Internet of Things makes life easier. For example: the navigation system in your car, controlling the temperature in your home with a smartphone-application or tracking your lost keys with a tag. However, many people do not consider the risks that come with the Internet of Things. Many manufacturers of these machines are not taking the necessary security steps that are needed to keep the devices safe. I will illustrate these risks with three examples (Brewster, 2014).

Hacking vehicles

One of the most dangerous risks of the Internet of Things is the possibility to hack vehicles. Some trucking companies use GPS tracking or ‘check-out’ systems to control access to the vehicles when they are in depots. The advantage of this is that the trucks can be retrieved when stolen. However, any wireless technology that is able to receive wireless commands, is a target for hackers. Hackers could, for example, stop the engine of a truck, which is a real threat is this truck is driving on the highway. And this threat is not just for trucks. More and more normal cars also use these technologies, while many car manufacturers do not add enough security measures.

Hacking a home

Similar threats can be found in your home. Many people use smartphone applications to turn electrical devices on and off or to control the temperature. The internet gives hackers access to these devices, which means that they can control all of them, which could cause real-world damage, possibly a fire. Also, TV’s that run the Android operating system are vulnerable to hackers. If a hacker would hack into a smart-TV, he could control the device, but also take photos if the TV has a built-in camera.

thermostat1

Tracking people

A device that more and more people use is a tag on your key ring, to recover your lost keys. This simple devices is connected with the internet since you can locate the keys with your smartphone. Hackers could track people with this device and, since it will send a signal 24/7, know where you are every minute of every day.

keys1

Even though the benefits of the Internet of Things are numerous, the threats of the Internet of Things are real as well. As connected devices proliferate, my hope is that they do so more safely. Manufacturers have to take the necessary security steps that are needed to keep the devices safe.

Author: Niels van der Wolf

S.I.D.: 355821

References

Brewster, T. (2014) There are real and present dangers around the Internet of Things, The Guardian, 20/03/2014, http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/mar/20/internet-of-things-security-dangers, last visited 17/09/2015.

Burrus, D. (2014) The Internet of Things is far bigger than anyone realizes, Wired Online Magazine, 17/11/2014, http://www.wired.com/insights/2014/11/the-internet-of-things-bigger/, last visited 17/09/2015.

http://postscapes.com/internet-of-things-examples/, last visited 17/09/2015.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MK0SrxBC1xs, last visited 17/09/2015.

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One response to “The Threats of the Internet of Things”

  1. liselottekeizer says :

    Interesting Topic Niels!

    I agree with the things you say. After some research I also find stories where baby monitors were hacked. By doing so intruders could check if there were people at home or not. I find those ideas very uncomfortable.

    I read that by 2020 they predict 30 to 50 billion devices are connected to the Internet (Hausman, 2014). Nevertheless the Internet of things (IoT) is in my opinion something that will happen. I saw the following when I was searching about this topic: “Imagine the iPhone without the App Store. It’d be totally fragmented. You’d have to go all over the place to find your apps, that’s the Internet of Things market today.” (Jackson, 2014). And I fully agree with this saying.

    People just find it scaremongering because it’s new, but the IoT will give additional value to our lives.

    In the end there is only one solution or goal and that is a better network security. Of course it won’t be easy to reach this goal, it is all new and growing rapidly. Companies should make it a high priority. Perhaps it is also an idea to give consumers the possibility to limit the amount and type of data collected by their devices. By doing so consumers might feel safer because they can decide how much control they want to keep.

    I got items from these sites:
    Hausman, S. (2014, 10 7). Security Info Watch. Retrieved 9 18, 2015, from http://www.securityinfowatch.com/article/11714106/navigating-security-threats-posed-by-internet-of-things-technology
    Jackson, B. (2014, 12 10). IT Business. Retrieved 9 18, 2015, from http://www.itbusiness.ca/news/telus-turns-internet-of-things-into-solutions-any-business-can-add-to-its-monthly-bill/52686

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