The Internet of Things. We all know that having an iPhone-controlled thermostat or a Wifi-capable pacemaker is the future, but is it safe? Like all things connected to the World Wide Web, it can be hacked quicker than you can say “Sony Pictures”…and if you don’t want Kim Jong-Un access to your Refrigerator, take some precautions. 

Ultimately, it’s not just Consumer devices – IoT covers Infrastructure, Energy, Industry, Commerce … you name it. And all are under threat.

Back in July, researcher Yier Jin from the University of Central Florida disclosed at the Black Hat USA security conference that he and his team had managed to find a backdoor to the popular Nest Thermostat. By uploading their own firmware, they could control the boot process and collect data and log files. While it’s not important that hackers know that you are indeed a miser and like to keep the heat down as much as possible, IoT devices are becoming much more sophisticated.


For good reason, businesses love IoT. It opens up new markets and the more devices with greater functionality; the more data they can collect to either improve features or sell data.

The Nest sells energy usage data and even A/C control to energy companies in order to better manage power consumption and production. A single hack spread across an entire network could, in theory, allow a hacker to spoof consumption stats and trigger a blackout.


And yet, not a lot of thought has gone into IoT security, however, the market for IoT security is estimated to grow just as fast as the IoT market itself, perhaps ratcheting $675 million in the next three years from a market of relatively nothing prior.

Not surprising, considering that a report by HP showed that amongst 10 of the most popular IoT devices, there was an average of 25 vulnerabilities per device that were detected. In addition, what was considered a feature is now considered a vulnerability in and of itself. 

Real pirates rely on navigational data that is shared online to find targets, encouraging ships to switch of their GPS systems. It seems that it’s better to risk being hit by other ships than it is to re-enact Captain Philips.

Will you feel more safe switching off your locks, keeping out the world of criminals globally at the expense of inviting burglars locally?

(IoT Infographic via The Connectivist)