Cybercriminals Take Aim: The Dark Side of IoT

Over the past few decades of the digital age, we only really had to worry about security for telephones, computers, and then smartphones. As the Internet of Things (IoT) extends connectivity to the other 99 percent of objects, the number of attack surfaces increases manifold. The conveniences IoT systems provide come with massive risks. Nonetheless, vigilant security teams can build resilient defenses.

A person monitoring a woman at a coffee shop.
Illustration: © IoT For All

The evolution of technology increases not only the domestic uses of the connected devices, but also the potential attacks on business security systems.

Technological advances bring about countless benefits. They make our lives easier and more comfortable. However, it would be silly to turn a blind eye to their main downside. The conveniences they provides come at a high cost: the possibility of being the target of a cyber attack.

IoT Creates New Attack Surfaces

Any devices, such as vehicles and home appliances that contain internet connectivity, interact and exchange data, which implies they can be remotely controlled and monitored. The Internet of Things (IoT) allows more information to be available for collection and exploitation.

When you are driving back from work, your smartphone is sending out traffic conditions to share with other drivers. You can switch on the air conditioner before getting to your smart house. Each device can tell a story through the information it gathers. By combining those different sources of information, any cybercriminal will be able to read that story: where you work, where you buy your groceries, what your favorite fast food restaurant is and so forth.

Information Technology

Information technology, which allows for the storage and processing of large quantities of information, advances incredibly rapidly and so does the possibility for criminals to steal information and money or to disrupt businesses. Huge amounts of data collected from the web, smart devices or social media are stored and held by companies. Unless that information is properly safeguarded, it is at risk from a cyber attack. The portal estimates that more than 20 percent of all information is not protected in any way and the rest can still be accessed by cyber criminals.

This vulnerability is seen in people, who could be called civilians, as well as at the corporate level: remote medical commands, geolocation companies, logistics, energy, critical emission networks, PLCs, aqueducts and gas pipelines. Whether for financial gain or to wreak havoc on organizations by bringing down IT systems, cybercriminals can undermine security systems of any kind.

Data Breaches

In 2013 and 2014, Yahoo! suffered two major data breaches of user account information. As the statement given by Oath reads, more than one billion accounts were affected. The world-famous scandal cost the big company 50 million dollars and it became one of the biggest security breaches of all time. The cyber attack on Yahoo! proves how catastrophic a cyber crime may be.

In a context where cyberattacks are becoming more and more common, it is crucially important to set up security systems that are efficient. Implementing effective cybersecurity measures can prevent digital attacks. Companies everywhere are looking into potential solutions to their possible cybersecurity problems. As business leaders are aware of the new risks that come from emerging technologies, they know how important it is to prioritize cybersecurity policies, including updated security systems.

According to specialists, over the next two years, the attacks on these systems will grow by 30 or 40 percent as cybercriminals seek to steal money and leave users without service or to disable the business platforms that provide services that are based on IoT.

As our reliance on technology increases, cybercrimes increase as well. Large quantities of data are stored and collected, and even though that information may be protected by a security system, there are hackers out there ready to break into these systems. Cybersecurity has become of paramount importance for both civilians and companies worldwide.