Last week, Brian Krebs reported that hackers using a malware dubbed “Marai” have identified hundreds of thousands of home and office devices that have weak security. Then the hackers released the malware publicly so anyone can use it and intrude into home and office devices that do not have proper security to thwart the attack through a distributed denial of service (DDos) attack. The hackers can gain access to these devices and turn them off, disrupt the way they work, or use the control of the device to extort money from the homeowner.
It is reported that there are over 23 billion devices on the market today that are connected to the Internet of Things “IoT,” and that number is growing rapidly. The IoT includes anything connected to the internet, but for my purpose today, it means your home security system, your oven, TV, baby monitor, routers, DVDs, window lock systems, refrigerators, pet collars and toys.
It is easy for the hackers to gain access to your baby monitor, because when the baby monitor was developed, data security was not the priority. No one was thinking that hackers could or would want to hack into a baby monitor.
The bigger problem is that when a home is thoroughly connected to the internet, including all of its appliances, and according to Alfred Chung of Guidance Software, “Anyone with access to a fully connected home can build a detailed profile about the occupants…They can gather data about the time of day when the home is occupied, the number of people inside the home at various times, personal details like age, appearance and gender of those living in the home…With connected appliances, they can even tell what food occupants store in their fridge…”
Although hackers would be very disappointed at the food I store in my fridge, it is still very creepy and scary to think that all of this information can be obtained because my home is a connected home. Of course, you all know that I would never connect my fridge, my security system or my TV to the internet, so this should not affect me. However, I know many of you do love to connect your appliances to your phone, so before you connect that appliance, think twice—do you really need to connect that device to the internet?
Finally, because of the massive attacks that have occurred recently as reported by Krebs, it is being widely suggested that if your home and its appliances are IoT and connected, change your passwords immediately.