Internet of Things security: What happens when every device is smart and you don’t even know it?
Billions more everyday items are set to be connected to the internet in the next few years, especially as chips get cheaper and cheaper to produce — and crucially, small enough to fit into even the smallest product.
Potentially, any standard household item could become connected to the internet, even if there’s no reason for the manufacturers to do so.
Eventually that processors needed to power an IoT device will become effectively free, making it possible to turn anything into a internet-enabled device.
“The price of turning a dumb device into a smart device will be 10 cents,” says Mikko Hyppönen, chief research officer at F-Secure.
However, it’s unlikely that consumer will be the one who gains the biggest benefits from every device their homes collecting data; it’s those who build them who will reap the greatest rewards — alongside government surveillance services.
“It’s going to be so cheap that vendors will put the chip in any device, even if the benefits are only very small. But those benefits won’t be benefits to you, the consumer, they’ll be benefits for the manufacturers because they want to collect analytics,” says Hyppönen, speaking at Cloud Expo Europe.
For example, a kitchen appliance manufacturer might collect data and use it for everything from seeing how often the product breaks to working out where customers live and altering their advertising accordingly in an effort to boost sales — and the user might not even know this is happening, if devices have their own 5G connection and wouldn’t even need access to a home Wi-Fi network.
“The IoT devices of the future won’t go online to benefit you — you won’t even know that it’s an IoT device,” says Hyppönen.
“And you won’t be able to avoid this, you won’t be able to buy devices which aren’t IoT devices, you won’t be able to restrict access to the internet because they won’t be going online through your Wi-Fi. We can’t avoid it, it’s going to happen.”
Indeed, it’s already started, with devices you wouldn’t expect to need an internet connection — including children’s toys — being discovered to have gaping cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Read more…