Dallas wakes up to IoT Security
As Dallas learned this past weekend, its citywide alarm system isn’t safe from being hacked. According to news reports, 156 alarms were activated Friday night, and not all of them could be shut off until two hours later. Despite the fact it was the best possible timing, Friday night being when many people are finished with work for the week, it’s still disturbing event. It’s like someone breaking into your locked garage to paste a fake parking ticket on your window that says “You park like a jerk.” It’s kind of funny, and also kind of aggressive and scary.
IoT security is an issue, as most of us who keep up with technology know. An event like the breach of Target customer data from several years ago, where vulnerable, internet-connected HVAC systems were used to gain entry, showed it was possible to press any type of internet-enabled object into nefarious service.
With internet devices burgeoning in every consumer and business space, the worry is that poor security standards will result in armies of hapless devices, wreaking havoc or perhaps even endangering lives. No one would allow cars that cede control to others so easily to drive on the road. But those devices are out there.
Last year, Def Con found 47 exploits in various internet-connected devices. Some devices offer virtually no defense when it comes to resisting cyberattacks. Dallas experienced some nerves on Friday, as residents let recent events abroad color their speculation. That feeling of uncertainty might become more prevalent in the future if security isn’t addressed.
However, I’m confident that solutions will be found, and will come from people who are much smarter than me on the topic. Luckily, Hackers/Founders is planning an event later this year to bring together viewpoints on IoT security. More to come on that closer to the event. But I think anything that can help to avoid a future which is the IoT-equivalent of Maximum Overdrive would be ideal.