Has your network ever been attacked or successfully hacked by a rogue refrigerator? That sentence sounds silly, but believe it or not, it has actually happened! As the number of smart, internet-connected devices continues to grow, and the “Internet of Things” (IoT) takes on increasing importance in our daily lives, the risks to those devices increase as well.
Most computers are fairly secure. They’ve got plenty of built-in security features, and more can be added by the users who operate them. Handheld devices tend to be somewhat less secure, but still sport some fairly robust features, and again, the users who employ them have a variety of additional security measures they can add.
The sad reality though, is that most smart devices don’t have any security at all. The handful that do have security have only the most basic, rudimentary measures in place that can be easily circumvented by even a novice hacker.
What this means for your company is that is you have a smart device in your office, and it’s communicating across your company’s network, you have a gap. An unlocked door. A simple means for the hackers to gain access to everything that resides behind your firewall.
Smart devices aren’t going away. In fact, the Internet of Things is growing faster than the internet itself did back in its formative stages. The day will soon be upon us when there are more “things” on the internet than there are computers. These smart devices have become invaluable to business, and have made possible the rise of big data, because they serve as the point of collection for that data.
The downside, however, is that the growth in security features on those devices has not kept pace with their rise in popularity, leaving us with a gigantic, still-growing problem. We now have tens of millions of totally unprotected, unsecured objects on the internet, many of them connected to corporate networks. Those devices can easily be controlled by outside parties who don’t have your best interests at heart, and either used to attack you directly, or bundled with other captured devices to create bot armies to launch ever larger denial of service attacks against other companies, which was what happened in the case of the rogue refrigerator. All this to say, you may want to rethink adding smart devices to your company’s network until those devices can be properly secured and protected.