Benefits of Internet of Things (IoT) Technology
Refrigerators that know when your milk expires, doorbells that fire up Internet webcams so you can see who’s there when you’re not home, smartphones that control your TV, lights and heating. And, in the business world, security cameras connected to the web, automated trains in airports. There are tremendous advantages to these devices in terms of making our lives easier and automating routine tasks, such as shuttling airline passengers back and forth between terminals.
What are the Cybersecurity Risks?
But there are also risks, recently an airline passenger hacked into the engine control system on an airliner via the on-board Wi-Fi. Cars have been hacked while driving down the highway. Then there’s the more mundane risk of accessing an insecure webcam as a way into your network, or an army of them as a botnet to take down your website. At the extreme end a German steel mill was destroyed, and then there’s the nightmare scenario of terrorists getting control of a nuclear plant.
How Do You Manage the Security Issues?
So what should we do? Lock down anything that sends data over the Internet, and isolate it, or get rid of it, if you can’t. Take the plane for example, if whoever designed the engine control system had properly secured it, it could have only been accessed by authorized personnel. Additionally, the passenger Wi-Fi network should have been kept completely separate from the aircraft management network. Just like the doctor’s office runs one network for patients in the waiting room, and a separate one for medical instruments and computers used to provide care.
Awareness of the risks and the willingness to address security issues are crucial. Ignoring these risks won’t make them go away, but it will make you much more likely to become the victim of an attack.