So we all read the articles of cyber-attacks, but manage to sleep well at night as we implement methods to protect our computers and ourselves. But what about all the new up and coming technologies? There are some pretty shocking developments in device security that you might want to know about…
We can certainly pat ourselves on the back on the amazing advancements humanity has made in improving electronic components. Just the sheer size of our electronics has made them truly portable and useful. Just think back of the brick Motorola mobile phones and consider how much better the latest smartphones are. Electronic components have gotten so small and yet so connected that it opened up huge potential for all industries. The odd part is that the computer industry, which has been the primary focus of cyber-attack, seems to be much more concerned about security than most others.
One of the first surprises is biomedical. Did you know that pacemakers are now wireless? Yes you can actually have your pacemaker configured and activated while deep inside your chest. As no one gave much thought to security in this industry, researchers were able to successfully hack a defibrillator while buried in a pile of ground beef and bacon (Apparently volunteers were hard to come by). They managed to do the unthinkable: They disabled the device – all through its wireless connection.
The other surprising candidate for cyber-attack was a vehicle. Apparently an average new car has about 4 computers that are networked together. Another group of researchers managed to access that network both short range via wifi and long range via the car’s onboard cellular connection. They managed to apply and disable the brakes and even installed malware into the car’s computers! They managed to compromise almost every software function in the vehicle. They could even access the car’s GPS remotely to identify where the car was exactly and turned on the microphone in order to listen to the conversation happening in the front seat.
I’m sure hoping that all these industries are going to wisen up to the lessons learned in the computer industry as they take these leaps into technology. Our security is too great to ignore.