Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Internet of Things security is so bad, there’s a search engine for sleeping kids

I've made a couple of posts about home automation and the growing Internet of Things (IoT); automating my house is a sort of hobby. As the uptake grows users (and manufacturers) need to take security much more seriously, since it's possible for an insecure device to compromise an entire home network. For example, a popular first IoT device for new parents is a WiFi and cloud-connected baby monitor with webcam. Parents understandably love the idea of being able to check up on their baby (and the baby sitter) using their smartphone from anywhere. However, many of these webcams are insecure and there is now a search engine for the Internet of Things (IoT), called Shodan,  that lets users easily browse vulnerable webcams. This is disturbing, creepy and potentially dangerous. Arstechnica recently published a piece that makes a good argument that users need to take more responsibility, but that manufacturers must also play their part by designing security into IoT devices. If necessary, governments may have to legislate.