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Cybersecurity: IoT

Another big change in the cybersecurity landscape over the past decade has been the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT is the network of physical objects, devices, televisions, refrigerators, home climate systems, cars, and other items, that are increasingly embedded with electronics, software, sensors and network connectivity that enables these objects to collect and exchange data. While consumer operating systems, such as Windows 10, OS X, iOS, and Android have increased security features with every release and update, the operating systems of Internet of Things devices rarely receive long-term security update support from their vendors.

The IoT presents an ongoing challenge on the cybersecurity landscape in that these devices are likely to remain insecure. This is because even when vendors do provide updates unless those updates are installed automatically, few owners of these devices will bother to apply those updates. While people will apply software updates to their computers and phones when reminded, most are less diligent when it comes to applying software updates to their refrigerator, washing machine, or television.

How does this impact the cybersecurity landscape? Botnets, comprised of IoT devices have already been used to perform distributed denial of service attacks. While the processing capability of IoT devices is much less significant than that of desktop computers or servers, it’s likely only a matter of time before an enterprising attacker works out how to get rich using a botnet of refrigerators to mine cryptocurrency.

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