The Internet of Things (IOT)

For those of you that haven’t heard the term yet, the Internet of Things (IOT) is the general concept of connecting an autonomous device to the Internet.  Many of you may have already implemented devices at home like a learning thermostat, security camera or photo frame.  These things add neat features to make our lives more enjoyable, with one of the main features of transmitting data to or from the Internet.

If you are connecting such devices to your home network be sure to set passwords and update them regularly.  You should implement at least the basic firewall on your router.  But the problem is that many folks won’t practice basic security hygiene, and through poorly written software the entirety of the network may be at risk.

Sophisticated agents have targeted Xbox consoles and the PlayStation network ever since they were on the Internet, and it’s only a matter of time before they break down many of the devices that will be later taken for granted.  SCADA controllers, which are used in industrial systems (such as HVAC) aren’t even necessarily exposed to the Internet, yet they can be compromised.  For more on that, read on about Stuxnet.

I am not saying all of this to scare everybody and say that there are boogie men…but all of these neat new things are a bit troublesome to maintain securely (even for the big companies and governments mentioned above).  There isn’t a great answer on how to do this yet.  Maybe Google’s OnHub will be an answer?  Only time will tell.

I’m not saying that I’m immune to how cool and life changing some of these things are, but I know it’s only a matter of time before somebody will determine a method to leverage these devices as a platform to run a bot net or simply hop through a network to other devices.  At this point it’s still kind of the wild wild West until the first big breach happens and the media blows it up like the recent car exploits.

Don’t be too much of a Luddite, just be careful out there and keep your head up.

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