A number of high profile cyber security attacks have been experienced this year and it involved the Internet of Things. Last September 20, the website of veteran cyber security expert Brian Kreb’s was hit by enormous distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. The assault was launched using botnet that spread malware to a number of IoT devices that included home routers, IP cameras and digital video recorders that are connected to the internet.
On October 21, IoT was harnessed by a bigger incident that involved a DDoS attack on the internet infrastructure of company Dyn. The cyber security attacks compromised major websites like Twitter, Netflix, Spotify and Reddit. According to media reports, the attacks appeared to have relied on thousands of IoT devices without their owners knowing about the threat.
The attacks should serve as an eye-opener for an industry that has spent years fretting over the Internet of Things but has not aggressively addressed the security threats. Now, better IoT security is immediate priority. It is relatively easy for the industry to improve security through the enforcement or updating of federal and industry regulations and standards as well as compel companies to provide better protection for their web infrastructures. Regulations whether welcome or not can be effective for the better good.
Internet of Things has already touched the lives of many Americans from improved health monitoring to safer highways and smart homes. Based on Gartner’s forecast, at least 6.4 billion connected things will be used throughout the world this year and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. Unfortunately, these connected devices will be the new frontier for hackers. Gartner says that more than 25% of the identified attacks in companies involved IoT devices. Little attention has been paid so far to strengthening security. Aside from including security in the devices, third-party vendors must also strengthen their security.
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