Hacker attacks and IoT: security problem of wireless devices

Over the past few years, the popularity of wireless devices such as smart speakers or security cameras is enjoying a significant increase. The estimated number of IoT gadgets for 2018 was 22 billion, which means that on average one person has as many as three devices connected to a smartphone, tablet or computer (which, despite meeting the conditions, are not considered IoT devices). With the development of technology, the question arises: are wireless gadgets, and also the owner's data, secure enough?

Although IoT devices come with specific software, it is not as advanced as computers or smartphones’. Programs have limited functionality due to the fact that usually devices are narrowly profiled. Fitness trackers monitor the activity and sleep, security cameras allow you to view the apartment or office. Also, gadgets store only part of the data - most of it is transmitted immediately to the device to which they are connected.

Vulnerability of users' data

Since IoT devices are directly connected to a smartphone or computer, they also put the data stored there at risk. Gadget software often doesn't have enough security measures because they usually don't require access to sensitive data. However, hacking an IoT device allows offenders to more easily access other devices within the connected network. In turn, a lot of people use a smartphone or computer to manage finances via online banking or a mobile app, to log in to social media profiles and to store a lot of private information. Although they can be protected by strong passwords and security apps, one weak device can weaken the protection of the entire IoT network.

Hacked security cameras

Security cameras should give their users a sense of security when they need to leave their children or pets alone at home, or talk to a person at the door, even when they are absent. However, for some users of Ring cameras, the complete opposite happened.

Ring camera owners in the United States have reported that their cameras have been hacked, and criminals cursed, shouted racist slurs and frighten children. Several devices transmitted not only sound but also video, which meant that hackers could both communicate with and peek at children.

These situations have caused concern among other security camera owners. On the other hand, Ring company states that the reason for the hacking was not faulty software, but rather weak and simple to hack password. Nevertheless, it shows how easily strangers can access the private life of IoT users. In situations that happened in the US, criminals revealed themselves, while there can be many more similar attacks in which hackers silently monitor camera owners.

The security problem, which has escalated in the past few years, is increasingly attracting the attention of current and potential users, forcing manufacturers to improve protection for gadgets. A new generation of wireless devices is now more secure, providing two-step verification and have better quality parts. However, as long as gadgets from a few years ago are on the market, their owners will still be exposed to hacker attacks.

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