Hacking the IoT is Frightening

As the calendar rolls on into 2016, more and more items are becoming connected to the Internet. And that means that for every item that is designed to make life easier through technology, there is an added risk that safety and security can be compromised. And let’s just say that some of the examples you’ll read about below are things that you wouldn’t want to be left vulnerable to hackers.

Take cars, for example. Security researchers were able to attack a 2014 Jeep Cherokee through its on board Wi-Fi system and demonstrate that they could disable the transmission and brakes, which led to a safety recall of over 1.4 million vehicles. It was also proven that a Tesla Model S could be remotely started and driven off through hacking into the car’s computer. Imagine paying that much money for a car and having someone drive off with it.

In another potentially dangerous situation, medical equipment that is Wi-Fi enabled can also be hacked. While in office, Dick Cheney’s doctors had the Wi-Fi component disabled on his pacemaker, fearing that malicious hackers could cause him problems. Their fears were proven to be accurate when students later showed that they could hack similar components embedded into an iStan, a medical dummy used in research.

Hacks were not limited to these items, however, and affected everything from toys to guns. That’s right, guns. Sniper rifles with Wi-Fi functionality through TrackingPoint, for example, were proven to be vulnerable. Everyone would certainly agree that guns are dangerous enough without the added problems associated with connectivity and security.

Clearly, there is a real requirement for companies to consider security a lot more heavily when building Wi-Fi connected devices, so that safety of customers and the general public can be ensured. The benefits of connectivity can be significant, so it would be much better to focus on those rather than the potential vulnerabilities.