Barbarians at the Gate? Cyber security Concerns in a World of Growing Internet-of-Things Connectivity

Cyber security Concerns

It’s no secret that today’s cyber security breaches are happening with unprecedented sophistication and boldness. Just last month, the FBI issued an alert that everyone should reboot their routers in order to prevent a compromise that may have affected hundreds of thousands of home and office routers and other network devices. In more mundane cyber news, a MyFitnessPal was breached, exposing the private data of 150 million app users. Even Mark Zuckerberg, the undisputed king of social media, had his Twitter and Pinterest accounts hacked. It seems no one, from high level Democratic movers and shakers to those simply parking to go to work, is safe from the threat of a security breach.

When will it end? The answer, sadly, is not any time soon. Black market users are willing to pay handsomely for sensitive personal information. As long as the opportunity exists to make money, intelligent and determined hackers will continue to exploit poor security practices to get at the content they want. Barbarians? Not by a long shot. The skill, expertise and motivation of elite hackers should not be underestimated.

Expect the problem to get worse. Hackers pride themselves on staying a step ahead in tenacity and intelligence, treating each successful hack as a badge of honor. As we take more advantage of the benefits that connectivity provide, we create more opportunity for the hacking community to get at our private information. According to Cisco, 2016 was the year when more devices will be connected to the Internet than people. This burgeoning Internet-of-Things revolution will dramatically increase the potential attack surface of any give network — if you have more doors, that’s just more chances to find a way in. Simply put, the more things you hang off your Internet, the more opportunity you provide for a breach.

What to do? Go off the grid? Not so fast. Today’s online experience is already transformational compared to life just a few years ago. Could you imagine giving up the convenience and availability provided by your business or personal network? Improvements in user experience, network reliability and speed, and content availability and quality have brought online experiences far beyond indispensable. And yes, despite the growing number of breaches, there have been major strides made in network security.

In reality, the benefits afforded by the IoT revolution in terms of lifestyle, safety, and efficiency far outweigh the drawbacks. So don’t expect IoT to go away anytime soon.

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