The Internet of things. It is a phrase that has been catching on more and more lately. But as more homes become automated and sync with your cell phone and other mobile devices and your wearable devices sync with the very same phone or home systems, there is increasing concern that hacking — whether foreign or domestic — could bring the Internet of things to a grinding halt.
Many of you may not even know what we are discussing, so let us do a little refresher on the Internet of things. If you have a Nest thermostat, it is part of the so-called Internet of things. If you use an Apple Watch or other smartwatch-type of device, you are using a device that is part of the Internet of things.
The automation via the Internet of things is a likely target of hackers as we have seen more and more rogue groups using hacking to disrupt not only the American election by leaking Clinton campaign emails or communications among top Democratic officials, but also the recent hacking of a British bank where 20,000 accounts were apparently defrauded of funds. As a result of the hacking taking place, the USB Port looked at some of the devices in your home most vulnerable to a hack.
Nest is one of the products that has pushed the Internet of things into our homes and lives. But are they able to be hacked? [Image by George Frey/Getty Images]
Among the items most surprising is the refrigerator.
“Many newer models now have app integration to perform various functions, but they are one of the less protected smart devices in a household,” the Port reported. “Hackers can easily use a refrigerator as a potential gateway to infect other connected devices (including smartphones) with malware.”
It also suggests health monitors implanted in a patient’s body can be at risk, as can baby monitors, Google Glass (wearable Internet of things glasses), and home video feeds.
There have been recent attacks on the Internet of things and the devices connected to such units. As a result, Madison.com said companies are beefing up security in order to not only protect current customers, but to protect profits down the road.
“There are also new security measures in the RTOS (real-time operating systems) which run on IoT chips. ARM Holdings, which was recently acquired by Softbank, previously beefed up the security of its mBed RTOS with the acquisitions of security firms Offspark and Sansa Security, as well as a partnership with IBM. Intel’s IoT chips run on its VxWorks RTOS, which is secured by Intel Security (which is being spun off with a majority stake sold to TPG) software, which is tethered to Intel’s IoT Gateway.”
To give you an idea just how big of an industry the Internet of things has become, let us look at some of the facts around the industry. According to a press release on Military-Technologies.net, governments just in the Middle East and Africa are planning to invest more than $6 billion in the Internet of things in the coming year. A survey conducted LogMeIn indicates investment in the Internet of things is paying off for businesses and other groups.
Home automation continues to expand at breakneck speed. [Image by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images]
“The research, which surveyed 600 product companies in various stages of deployment, found that 87 [percent] have seen increased revenue as a direct result of connecting a product, and over 90% have seen improvements in business efficiencies and product uptime,” MT reported.
With so much riding on the Internet of things, companies would be wise to invest in improved technologies so your kitchen refrigerator keeps producing ice and filtered water and not viruses infecting connected devices. Expect to see much more about the industry in coming months as more and more homes automate, more and more exercise enthusiasts invest in wearable technology, and the world in which we live continues to become more interconnected.
Will you connect your home to wireless devices? Are you already connected and do you feel safe? Tell us about it in the comments section.
[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]