The shape of things to come
An increasing array of physical household and business objects now come with a plethora of sensors, software, and processing abilities, connecting to like-minded devices and swapping data with additional systems via the internet or across networks. These objects and devices have rapidly become the norm, and are a growing and evolving part of our day-to-day business and smart home operations.
The advent of global 5G networks has meant an exponential rise in connected devices. In the last few years, voice-activated lighting and entertainment, city infrastructure sensors, human-wearable biometrics, residential appliances, family vehicles, building heating, building security, and even smart pacemakers, have become commonplace in offices, workshops, laboratories, hospitals, and homes. It is predicted that, in total, there will be 41.6 billion connected IoT devices by 2025 (IDC).
Invariably using a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server, they use integrated CPUs, network adapters, and firmware, to connect via an IP address. While this adds functionality and integration into the devices we use daily, it also adds vulnerability.
With great power…
All manufacturers now have a responsibility to their customers to provide adequate security for the lifetime of their products. For many producers, this is a new way of thinking, and they are unlikely to have had to consider the ramifications of a cybersecurity compromise before now. For some countries, where manufacturing costs are inherently cheaper and development processes are more ad-hock, this is an entirely new concept.
While black hat hackers targeting our ancient printers, smart water bottles, refrigerators, or toothbrushes might not sound too concerning, these are sometimes nodes on a network that can then be used to access more critical devices. Accessing other devices means they may also gain access to other systems – and as a consequence, critical infrastructure and data. They can also be used as part of a botnet farm of internet-connected devices co-opted for the purpose of a DDoS attack, pinging other devices as smaller parts of a single attacking entity. Yes, IoT devices could be switched…