Internet of Things poses new security risks

2014-01-11 09:07
(Picture: Supplied)

(Picture: Supplied)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Las Vegas - The hackers who got into your computer or smartphone are now taking aim at the Internet of Things.

The connected toothbrush, sports gear with embedded sensors and smart refrigerators are just a few of the objects showcasing innovations at the Consumer Electronics Show.

They are all impressive but "they're all breachable" said Kevin Haley, director of Symantec Security Response, while attending the huge high-tech trade show.

"If the object is connected to the Internet, you will find it, and if it has an OS [operating system] you can hack it," he told AFP at the Las Vegas expo.

Haley said the pace of innovation could outstrip the security protecting the devices.

"As we start to bring all this new stuff in our houses, we're going have to take some responsibility," he said.

The devices displayed the CES show included an array of gear from a connected basketball to baby clothing which monitors an infant's breathing and positioning.

And security researchers have shown the possibility, at least in theory, of hacking into automobile electronics or medical devices like pacemakers.

Catalin Cosoi, chief security strategist at the firm Bitdefender, said the threat remains mostly theoretical for now.

"I don't think the bad guys have understood the benefits for them of making use of such things yet," he said.

Military grade encryption

But Cosoi said some new hack in inevitable which could cause people to take notice.

"We're definitely going to see something happening this year... we might see the first collateral victim, a person being physically harmed," he added.

The introduction of Internet-enabled door locks at CES poses the obvious question of whether the devices can be compromised by hackers.

Alex Colcernian, director of product development at Unikey, which powers Kwikset remote-control locks, said the technology includes "military grade encryption" to stay secure.

Leo Herlin of French-based Medissimo, which introduced a smart pill box, said the system is "extremely secure" to prevent unwanted intrusions.

One factor that mitigates the risk is that with billions of objects likely to be connected, the value to hackers could be limited in most cases: would a hacker penetrate a refrigerator to steal someone's grocery list?

"You've got to be smart consumers when you're using a smart device," said Randy Overton, national product trainer for South Korean giant LG, which showed off its smart appliances that can communicate by text message with the owner.

To allay potential concerns, computer chip giant Intel announced at CES that it would offer its McAfee security service for connected devices free of charge,.

Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich told a CES keynote that offering this level of security would "allow this ecosystem to flourish."

Equipment maker Cisco estimates that 50 billion objects worldwide will be connected by 2020.

Abnormal activity

"It is impossible to put security software on every object," said Cisco's David Orain.

The answer is to look and address "abnormal activity" linked to the connected devices, said Orain, noting that this is part of what Cisco offers clients.

One of the areas where security concerns are paramount are in industrial applications.

Andreas Haegele of the France-based digital security firm Gemalto said electronic tracking has been done for decades for things like shipping containers and petroleum platforms, and that the security of these objects is now in focus.

US cybersecurity officials have also stepped up warnings for hacking into so-called critical infrastructure like pipelines and power grids.

Symantec's Haley said that last month's publicised hacking into a nanny cam drew headlines but that no real damage was done.

But the same technique could be used for industrial espionage.

"If I can break into the security cameras of my competitor's factory, I can see exactly how the factory works," Haley said.

Read more on:    internet  |  technology
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

An uncomfortable election

The latter few weeks of election 2014, have seen South Africans reeling from an assault on their comfort zone when it comes to voting, writes Daniel Silke

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia Lumia 800

The stunningly social Nokia Lumia 800 features head-turning design, ...

From R2395.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.