Tech Expert Ariel Coro was invited on CNN en Español’s Oppenheimer Presenta Show to comment on the risky side of the new tech trend, the Internet of Things.
The Internet of Things is a much buzzed about concept these days, that is, traditional devices that are now coming online to interact and provide information about themselves and the world around them. Imagine household appliances such as refrigerators, locks, stoves, ranges, thermostats and many others. The formula is fairly simple…just add a wireless connection and/or some software to interact with other devices and voilà.
What’s the result?
Smart refrigerators that can warn you when you are running out of milk and smart locks that can be remotely configured via an app on your smartphone, where you can open the door remotely for a repairman and even change the combination after they leave. Thermostats are also becoming part of the ecosystem, some even know and react to the weather forecast, so by the time you get back home, the temperature is already to your desired preference, while taking advantage of the electricity savings garnered while you were away. The possibilities are endless with all the gadgets, appliances and other devices that can become part of this ecosystem.
On the flipside, the Internet of Things is not as safe as it could be. By having all these lower-cost devices connected via wireless connections the risks multiply – Said Tech Expert Coro
The processors and minicomputers used to give intelligence to these devices are usually inexpensive and have, for the most part embedded operating systems. What does this mean? In many cases, when a vulnerability gets discovered, they are difficult to simply upgrade to a newer software version and fix the problem. Multiply the problem by the massive amount of devices, throw them into the internet and you have an easy recipe for disaster.
Recently, in Brazil, 4.5 million Internet routers were attacked to commit financial fraud. The hackers changed their DNS, which is the system used to solve or find domain names and diverted internet traffic to steal personally identifiable data. This is just one of the risks, if we follow this trend to the home automation space, thieves of the future will not need tools to break doors and windows. They can just hack the security cameras, motion sensors and open the house remotely.
Once people start massively adopting all the devices that comprise the Internet of Things, it can get messy if security keeps getting neglected and is an afterthought. Hopefully, the vulnerability that brings down the whole Internet is not caused by your smart toaster. One can only hope…