4 min read
November 13, 2020

This week in history, we will look at security issues around IoT devices. The first device up will be a subsection of IoT medical devices.

In the last few years as components have gotten smaller things have been expanding where they could be used. Medical devices are an area where things are growing around IoT. We now live in a world where an insulin pump can automatically monitor levels and dose levels as it needs to. Pacemakers have been wireless for a while now, using a device that is close to the body to program it or to interact with it. What happens when a hacker can trigger or reprogram the device?

In 2008 there was an article published around pacemakers being vulnerable to hacking, https://www.informationweek.com/pacemakers-vulnerable-to-hacking/d/d-id/1065618. It is bad enough to think that someone could steal your credit and identity, but a research team showed they were able to do malicious attacks on the device. The device that is designed to keep you alive, imaging if it suddenly had ransomware on it. The same with the insulin pump.

As these devices become smarter and more interactive security has to be one of the first things planned for, along with how security can be improved or strengthen as new hacks are found. ML (Machine Learning) is becoming a great tool in this area.

Next, we will have a little fun. What happens when your cars, appliances, or other everyday items start to get too smart and then become infected with malware or ransomware? The average person might think no one wants to hack a coffee maker or a fridge. Why wouldn't they? Someone would want to do it just to prove it could be done, and then someone else could take it just to be malicious. Your coffee randomly turns on or makes the water hotter than it should be. Your fridge stops keeping food cold. Someone hacks your car and remotely control it. Some of this sounds like a movie or just futuristic, but some of it is true. There is a movie that does follow some of this, Maximum Overdrive, the original movie trailer is below.

Now that you feel this is all just overdramatized. Think about this back in 2015 and 2016 a pair of hackers not only stopped a vehicle on the freeway, but they also showed how they could take control of the steering. The first hack in 2015 could be done wirelessly, the second one in 2016 required something directly connected. However, with IoT getting smaller and smaller you could take your car to get new tires and never know that it how the hack just waiting to be used.
For more information on the hacks mentioned above go here:
The Jeep Hackers Are Back to Prove Car Hacking Can Get Much Worse
Hackers Remotely Kill a Jeep on the Highway—With Me in It

If you think that you would notice it, check out this video on credit card skimmers from 2013.

The point of this is not to make you worry, but to show how important pushing security first is. Then thinking of possible exploits. Then ensure that you have someone trying to stay current on it. Hackers are a large driving force in security.