People like to have convenience in doing everything. Whether it be turning the lights off in the rooms of their houses, switching the air conditioner on or off, turning the thermostat on and setting it at the right temperature or ordering groceries.
People want to perform these tasks from the comfort of sitting in a chair while driving their cars to their homes or sleeping on their beds.
This blog discusses how the Internet of Things devices makes these things possible and the safety implications of using such devices.
Internet of Things devices are devices that can be used in everyday life and connected to the internet. Other devices can recognize these devices and contribute information to a database.
These are devices or things that generate data. IoT devices can help people collect data about things without actually interfering with the data collection process. Using the data obtained using IoT devices, humans can track and count everything they can get the data from the IoT devices.
IoT devices can tell when something needs to be replaced, recalled or repaired.
Internet of Things devices include devices such as smart thermostats, personal assistants, smart bulbs or another smart lighting, smart air conditioners, smart refrigerators, smart televisions or other devices connecting to the Internet for their operations.
An example of IoT devices coming into play could be when a person uses their smartphones on which an app that can be used to control the IoT devices is installed to send various commands to the IoT devices and make them perform several different functions according to the needs of the person.
The person can set the temperature of the thermostat to a particular setting while leaving the office for their homes so that they are set to a temperature that is comfortable for them to be in when they reach home.
They may also ask their personal assistant to turn on the lights of a particular room or set them to a specific level of color or brightness, or they may even get recipes on their refrigerator displays to help them cook their favorite meals.
However, the use of these devices is sometimes considered unsafe and there are safety risks associated with their use. An attacker could use various attack techniques to hack an IoT device and steal information through it or perform other evil activities by taking advantage of the capabilities of the IoT devices.
An example of a cyber-attack involving IoT devices is when a threat actor manages to compromise the app installed on a victim’s smartphone used to control the smart geyser that is present in the bathroom that is located in the victim’s newborn baby’s room.
The victim uses the app to set the water to the right temperature whenever they want to give their baby a bath and leave the geyser switch on so they can control it from anywhere.
After compromising the smart geyser app, the attacker decides to turn the geyser temperature to the hottest setting and let it run.
The time the attacker chooses to do this is when the victim is not at home and the baby is in his or her room while the babysitter watches television.
Now, when the geyser would run for an extended period of time, it could catch fire, and the fire could spread into the baby’s room and harm the baby.
So, even if the IoT device did not have a vulnerability in itself, but the compromised app caused the attacker to take advantage of the capabilities of the IoT device to orchestrate an attack on the victim.
Therefore, even if IoT devices increase people’s convenience, if they are not properly secured, then adversaries could take advantage of it and attack their victims. Also, IoT-related software needs to be secured.