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By Jason Wittick • May 16, 2016

The Internet of Things

 

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The Internet of Things (IoT) describes any item or object that can connect to the Internet automatically and then transmit or receive data.  As web-connected devices are becoming more common, the convenience and efficiency they provide will introduce and expose new targets for hackers to target and attack.  The security risks created by IoT-enabled devices have become a popular buzz-topic, but there is truth behind much of the fear-mongering.

Although it can be uncomfortable to admit, the convenience of technology is insidious and pervasive.  Information Technology has a particularly profound influence upon our habits and lifestyle, as evidenced by the unprecedented rise in popularity of modern mobile computing devices like tablets and smartphones.  Over the last 20 years, Information Technology professionals have been reacting and adapting to near constant attacks on their systems; consistently struggling and failing to keep step with the hackers.  Just as with other convenience technologies, the IoT will be hard for an individual to avoid once society as a whole has adopted it around them in the form of autonomous vehicles and connected buildings, etc.

The IoT was devised because convenience ought to come from connectivity, but that same connectivity might provide a new means of attacking, or even worse … exposing any information being exchanged.  A deficient or careless security design, difficulty in applying security patches, and a general lack of consumer awareness are the three biggest threat-actors for IoT devices and any of the three can provide a target for attack.  If a hacker could take control of an autonomous vehicle while it was driving, for example, anyone inside or around the vehicle - including those driving manually - could suddenly be in harm’s way.  Similarly, if a hacker suddenly cut power to a large building, disabling services like fire protection, anyone stuck in an elevator or on higher levels could suddenly be in harm’s way.

Just like with cars and buildings, when it comes to information the IoT will introduce new targets for hackers to test their mettle.  As devices constantly communicate between themselves, the internet and us, the total number of opportunities for an attacker to try and steal our information explodes.  Remaining vigilant by keeping backups, running encryption and staying aware of current threats and trends are all good ways to help extend the time before a breach happens to you, but for how long?  With near-genius hackers and so much of the world around us poised to become interconnected, breaches will no doubt continue happening; their frequency accelerating.

The only real way to protect yourself is to accept that a breach will happen, and prevent attackers from using what they steal.  Luckily, a new data security solution to do exactly that has been developed.  It's called DataStealth, and it ensures that even after a hacker gets access … it is computationally infeasible to make use of anything they steal.  With DataStealth, you can not steal what is not there.

DataStealth Overview