New software features tend to outpace new security features.
Maybe that’s just to be expected in our capitalistic tech culture. But the current state of IoT security and data privacy protections could also be bad for business. Earlier this year, four out of ten industry and government professionals reported that privacy and security concerns were their main things holding them back from embracing IoT technology.
Here, we round up five examples of the types of problems that are stoking those fears:
1. Webcam Spying
Spying on marijuana plantations, restaurants, and baby monitors is all in a day’s work for two controversial websites sites. The two sites—nown as shodan.io and insecam.com—work like IoT search engines, grabbing information on insecure video cameras around the globe. They also can pinpoint the GPS location of the cameras they detect. Shodan.io also includes information on a range of devices including traffic lights and industrial control systems while insecam.com bills itself as having the largest collection of online surveillance footage.
2. Using IoT for Murder
Law enforcement agency Europol made a splash in 2014 when it observed that the risk of IoT-enabled murder was growing. The organization observed that it is possible for would-be killers to track their victims using connected devices. It is not clear how many such homicides have occurred. But it is theoretically possible for would-be murderers to kill via hacking. In 2007, for instance, Dick Cheney had the wireless functionality on his pacemaker turned off for fear that a hacker could attack the device. Earlier this year, Techinsider wrote a mostly tongue-in-check summary describing how IoT device malfunctions could prove fatal. While the data on IoT-fueled murders may be scant, there are already cases of suspected murders using GPS technology to track victims. Back in 2012, a North Carolina man allegedly used a GPS tracker to track down his ex-wife’s lover and shoot him.
3. Hacked Baggage Scanners
It’s possible for a criminal to smuggle weapons or other onto a plane by hacking baggage scanners, according to Wired. Software on the systems known as Threat Image Projection ordinarily enables supervisors to superimpose images of banned items into x-rays to test operators. But that same function could be used to project images of harmless items over weapons.