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OPLIN 4cast #500: The Internet of Things: so cool, so…problematic

Posted in 4cast

The Internet of Things is exploding. It’s likely that you’re already aware of many smart home devices, such as thermostats, doorbells and even light bulbs. The IoT has already gone far beyond mere consumer uses, with sensor devices that communicate via wifi being installed for all sorts of uses in industry as well.  Morgan Stanley estimates that there will be more than 75 billion connected devices by the year 2020.

As amazing as these implementations are, they bring a number of really big problems with them.  And, as the IoT continues to grow, those issues are getting much harder to ignore.

  • The spy who hacked me: Evildoers love IoT’s weak security. “A Hewlett-Packard study from 2014 found that many IoT devices were shipped from the factory with low security passwords.  As well, a Veracode report from last year discovered many basic security weaknesses in such devices as hubs for home IoT networks and even garage door openers.”
  • Cybersecurity investment to reach $400 million due to IoT threats “Investment in cybersecurity rose by 78 percent in 2015 to $228 million and Lux Research expects it to reach $400 million this year, in part because of the rapid adoption of IoT devices.”
  • “Internet of Things” security is hilariously broken and getting worse “Shodan, a search engine for the Internet of Things (IoT), recently launched a new section that lets users easily browse vulnerable webcams. The feed includes images of marijuana plantations, back rooms of banks, children, kitchens, living rooms, garages, front gardens, back gardens, ski slopes, swimming pools, colleges and schools, laboratories, and cash register cameras in retail stores, according to Dan Tentler, a security researcher who has spent several years investigating webcam security.”
  • IoT and problems: The issues that bedevil any new tech “Many of these IoT devices are literally built to spy on consumers. Big Corporations are not making money off of the smart machines themselves. The real profit is found in Big Data. The sensors in these smart devices are busy gathering all sorts of information about users that is sent back to companies to be analyzed.”

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