Privacy Concerns in IoT Devices

Updated: Aug 14, 2021

The Internet of Things (IoT) are everyday devices that a user can control using Wi-Fi. This device should make life more efficient for the user, however there are many security risks.

One of the issues with these devices is that it “possess[es] fewer processing and storage capabilities. This makes it difficult to employ anti-virus, firewalls and other security applications that could help protect them” (Brooks, 2021).

These devices also only last for about 10 years and are a hassle to replace (Klosowski, 2020). There are privacy concerns with these devices because companies are not sending out updates and the devices are easy to hack. One of the devices that are having security issues is the smart coffee machine that allows the user to control the machine using a Wi-Fi enabled device. This machine is susceptible to ransomware attacks where the hacker will send the attack to the coffee machine and it will:

permanently turn on the hotbed and water heater as well as the coffee grinder. The only way to silence the now manic machine being to pay the supposed ransom or, of course, pull the plug from the mains… without compromising either the network or the router. The coffee machine has a low security risk because the hacker will have to know that you have a smart coffee machine and it may be cheaper to buy another one instead of paying the ransom (Winder, 2020).

They have sent out new updates for the new versions of the coffee machines. Another device is the Google Nest, which is a speaker that connects other smart devices like the thermostat, security cameras, doorbells, etc. When the hackers get in the system, the person could control the devices, see inside the user’s home via the security camera, or release a botnet that can shutdown websites (Whittaker, 2020). The Nests are more secure than other devices, but hackers can attack the devices using programmed attacks. To combat the attacks, Google requires two-factor authentication.

Check out this video to see a smart coffee machine hack in action: https://decoded.avast.io/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2020/09/VID_20180828_185800_1-1.mp4 & the research done by Avast: The Fresh Smell of ransomed coffee - Avast Threat Labs




References

Brooks, C. (2021, February 7). Cybersecurity Threats: The Daunting Challenge Of Securing The Internet Of Things. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckbrooks/2021/02/07/cybersecurity-threats-the-daunting-challenge-of-securing-the-internet-of-things/?sh=7d70bd275d50.

Klosowski, T. (2020, August 24). We Asked Appliance Manufacturers How Long They'll Keep Connected Devices Secure. Many Couldn't Tell Us. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog/how-long-connected-devices-secure/.

Whittaker, Z. (2020, June 1). After a spate of device hacks, Google beefs up Nest security protections. TechCrunch. https://techcrunch.com/2020/06/01/google-nest-advanced-protection/.

Winder, D. (2020, September 27). Coffee Machine Hit By Ransomware Attack-Yes, You Read That Right. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/daveywinder/2020/09/27/hacker-takes-coffee-machine-hostage-in-surreal-ransomware-attack/?sh=3c8ed43577f0.

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