Posted on

‘Internet of Things’ excitement marred by vulnerability to hacking attacks

education concept - students looking into phones and tablet pc a

by: Hannah Kuchler in San Francisco

Default passwords on devices from the digital video recorder in your living room to the security camera in your office threaten the stability of the internet, as hackers build vast networks of “Internet of Things” devices to bombard websites with traffic.

The attack on Dyn, a domain name service provider, that disrupted access to high-profile sites such as Twitter, Spotify and theNew York Times on Friday, highlighted the risks posed by the billions of devices connected to the internet with little or no cyber security protections. Unidentified hackers took over tens of millions of devices using malicious software called Mirai, making the attack much more powerful and harder to defend against than the average distributed denial of service attack.

In a rush of excitement about the prospect of controlling houses and office buildings from smartphones — changing the temperature or detecting burglars using cameras — many manufacturers with little experience of cyber security have connected devices to the internet.

Regulators have not yet created clear rules on how they should be protected and even businesses are finding well meaning suppliers or facilities managers have accidentally created holes in their corporate networks by adding connected devices.