Preying on America’s Addiction to Smart Technology

02Today’s technology has made life for Voyeurs a virtual life of leisure. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) up to 200 billion devices will be hooked to the Net  by 2020, from our cars to our bathrooms.

Everything is going smart and that only means one thing – out there some criminal is already working on a means to exploit it.   You don’t even have to be a computer geek these days. Check out the web. You can find and download programs to hack passwords, androids, Iphones, telnet, and cars, etc. They even offer step by step instructions.

Grills, mattresses, dishwashers and toothbrushes are all getting more intelligent, but this built-in computing power comes with a new set of security risks. Do you really want voyeurs or predators in your bathroom or bedroom? None of these “smart” devices have integrated antivirus or antispam protection and unlike operating systems or mobile apps, the software built in smart TVs and home appliances isn’t updated on a regular basis.

Security service vendor Proofpoint  uncovered a worldwide hacking attack that affected over 100,000 smart gadgets, using the compromised devices to pour out spam and phishing messages across the Web. Affected hardware included smart TVs, routers, multimedia centers and even the odd Web-enabled refrigerator. More than 25% percent of the infected devices fell outside of the usual computer, laptop and mobile categories, which means the onrushing ‘Internet of Things’ has some serious security gaps to plug before it begins to be adopted by the mainstream market.

Briefings at Black Hat in 2013 revealed just how vulnerable medical devices are to cyber attacks, due to lack of controls and incentives on manufacturers to ensure that their devices are secured from tampering.  Another even more disturbing fact is the ability of hackers to attack someone’s pacemaker. There has been a lot of buzz lately about the potential to breach the security of implanted medical devices, and unlike many scares, this one is not without basis.  In fact, the FDA is asking manufacturers and hospitals to “prevent unauthorized access” after researchers reported “password vulnerability affecting roughly 300 (types of) medical devices across approximately 40 vendors.”

“Bot-nets are already a major security concern and the emergence of thingbots may make the situation much worse,” according to Proofpoint. “Many of these devices are poorly protected at best and consumers have virtually no way to detect or fix infections when they do occur. Enterprises may find distributed attacks increasing as more and more of these devices come online and attackers find additional ways to exploit them.”

Driverless cars, recently being tested in the UK and in the U.S. have raised numerous questions as to their safety since likely holes in the software could be exploited by hackers intent on stealing the cars or using them for terrorist attacks.   According to the Institution of Engineering and Technology 98% of software applications have defects, many of which have a number of major problems, and it’s safe to assume the software used for driverless cars will be no exception

Automobiles are already considered “computers on wheels” by security experts. Vehicles are filled with dozens of tiny computers known as electronic control units, or ECUs, that require tens of millions of lines of computer code to manage interconnected systems that  include not only the  engines but brakes, navigation, lighting, ventilation and entertainment. They use the same wireless technologies that power cell phones and Bluetooth headsets, which make them very vulnerable to attacks using some of the same techniques used to hack your laptop or PC. “

You are being stalked. Besides  NSA, the FBI and your local police, there are hundreds of data brokers compiling and selling information about your phone records, texts, location, web history, social networking, credit history, background checks and even where you go thanks to license plate scanners and facial recognition cameras.  Add to that scenario the voyeurs, burglars, stalkers, identification thieves, on-line predators, possible murders or terrorists and it kind of makes you wonder why you need to be attached to the Net 24/7.



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