New Year’s Resolution: Protect your Internet of Things

The Minneapolis Star Tribune ran an interesting article this week on cyber security and the Internet of things. The quick take is that the Internet of Things will make life so much more convenient but will also open us up for greater security risk. I think that’s the balance we have any time we use the Internet – for email, for web browsing, to buy anything. It’ makes life easier but riskier. The difference with the Internet of Things is that the risk more directly impacts our home and our bodies…

Consumers will soon become accustomed to conveniences such as starting a dishwasher from work, even though it’s hardly a necessity, said Ken Hoyme, a scientist with Minneapolis-based technology researchers Adventium Labs.

Small smart devices are “the weakest links” in a network, he said, whether it’s in a hospital or a home. For instance, he said computer worms can get into hospital systems through CAT scan machines with built-in browsers for automatic updates.

Breaking into an organization’s network could be as simple as exploiting out-of-date software on a smart thermostat to gain access to other connected systems, or simply changing the temperature settings to overheat a server room.

Hoyme said medical devices attached to the Internet could also be hacked, but that the dangers associated with not implanting a smart defibrillator far outweigh the likelihood of being the victim of a cyberattack. The University of Minnesota’s Technological Leadership Institute recently held a public forum on securing wireless medical devices against hacking.

If you’re looking for a short list for New Year’s Resolutions – you might at least consider how wide you want to balance convenience with security and privacy

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