The "Internet of Things" made headlines recently, as many devices that fall into that category were used to take down a chunk of the internet for a few hours. What is the "Internet of Things"?
The Internet of Things (Or IoT, as it often abbreviated to) is the new wave of "non-computer" devices that have started to become popular over the last few years. Things like online CCTV systems, heating systems that can be controlled remotely, and internet-enabled baby monitors.
It can also be used for non-domestic purposes. For instance, traffic lights can connect to the internet so their timings can be changed based on real-time data.
There's many applications for devices that can either automatically adapt based on information obtained via an internet connection, or can be manually controlled via the internet. Any device that falls into this category is generically referred to as the "Internet of Things".
As with any new technology, there's a learning curve for both the providers and the customers. As noted at the beginning of this article, the recent attack that took down many popular websites was largely made up of compromised devices such as these. In many of the cases, the customers had not changed the default passwords for their devices. This makes it very simple for an attacker to gain control over it. Hopefully, this will be a wake-up call for such people. There could be much more personal implications for someone for whom an attacker has full access to their CCTV System or video baby monitor.
However, in some cases, the manufacturers don't even provide an interface to allow passwords to be changed. At the moment, this is falling under the radar while the technology is in its infancy. However, as these devices enter more peoples' homes, these companies will need to start taking security seriously, as attackers will start targeting these devices as soon as it becomes profitable to do so.