Internet Of Thingbots: The New Security Worry

Jeff Bertolucci | Information Week | April 30, 2014

Phishing and spam attacks involving Internet of Things devices are coming -- and app developers and device makers must be ready, says a CA Technologies exec.

Builders of consumer appliances over the years haven't devoted a lot of time and energy to matters of security. This made sense when refrigerators, home thermostats, and light bulbs didn't share data or tie into a global network of apps and devices. Along comes the Internet of Things (IoT), and suddenly security matters. The IoT consisted of 20 billion devices in 2013 and will have 32 billion by 2020, according to the research firm IDC. The boom in IoT-enabled gadgets and sensors is a boon for hackers, whose device-focused attacks are starting to make headlines.

In January, the security provider Proofpoint announced it had uncovered an IoT-based cyberattack in which bursts of spam email were sent three times a day. What made the attack unique was that 25% of the volume was sent by compromised consumer devices such as home routers, televisions, and even a refrigerator. And in March, the security researcher Nitesh Dhanjani took an in-depth look at the potential security threats facing owners of the IoT-connected Tesla electric car...