The Internet of Things (IoT) will cause businesses and end users untold cyber woes, if manufacturers continue their underdeveloped approach to security, according to industry experts.
Raj Samani, CTO of McAfee, part of Intel Security, told V3 that while IoT has the potential to revolutionise the way we live and work, it will also cause massive and dangerous developments in the cyber crime community.
"When you combine unthinking computing with prolific, pervasive and always-on devices, and the collection of absolutely gigantic data sets, the need to implement security and privacy controls has never been so important," he said.
"Ultimately, such systems will naturally become a target for attackers due to the richness of data they gather, but also the potential impact in the event of a compromise."
David Emm, senior security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, mirrored Samani's sentiment and highlighted the power and manufacturing industries as being particularly at risk.
"The risks include theft of data by an attacker or manipulation of that data so that incorrect information is sent. Imagine, for example, if data sent from a smart electricity meter were tampered with to incorrectly measure the amount of electricity used (or if large numbers of meters were switched off remotely," he said.
"Or the impact on a clothes manufacturer of altering radio-frequency identification (RFID) data so that stocks became unavailable or a glut of one product is delivered to a shop. The risks increase, of course, if the data being sent is very sensitive or if the facility affected is a key public service."
Emm said the world of IoT will also present opportunities for digital pranksters and hacktivists, as well as criminal groups.
"The motives [for attacks] may vary too: they include not only making money illegally, but cyber-espionage, cyber-sabotage and social and political protest," he said.
"This is important because it is likely to condition the nature of any attack. For example, it's difficult to see how someone could make money by remotely switching off smart meters."
The two researchers' comments follow widespread concern about the privacy and security implications of IoT.
Samani told V3 that to safely reap the rewards of IoT, manufacturers will need to rework their design process to include security from the start during an interview earlier in September.
To get more insights on cyber security, register for the V3 Security Summit now.
For more information on the IoT, visit the Intel IT Center.
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