Is IoT really necessary–and dangerous?

[grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”150″ /] With the news full of health data security breaches, your Editors have also worried about medical device hacks that could threaten life. Back in May 2014, we noted Essentia Health‘s info security head deliberately hacking their own devices to find the security holes (which he drove a truck through), the concern on Dick Cheney’s defibrillator as far back as 2007 and other devices being agents of murder (postulated by the late Barnaby Jack). Multiple computer assists and internet connectivity are everywhere now–in our cars, home security, smart appliances and more. Except that they are all highly vulnerable to hacking. (Imagine your air conditioning being shut down by a hacker on a 95 degree day).

The Hacker News (a first mention) named the top international ‘smart cities’ most suspect to a chaos-making cyber attack, in rank order:  Santander, Spain (!); New York City; Aguas De Sao Pedro, Brazil (?); Songdo, ROK; Tokyo; Hong Kong and Arlington county, Virginia (adjacent to Washington DC), noting security systems, transit, traffic control, connected cars and smartphone usage as vulnerabilities. The NY Times also jumped on the Conestoga wagon, noting that systems needed to be hardened against attack. One successful hack or software bug could ‘brick’ thousands or even millions of refrigerators–or cars. Despite advocates of smart homes and self-driving cars, and all that desire for whiz-bang tech, the Times writer’s conclusion is that not everything needs to be networked, because the vulnerability tradeoff isn’t worth the convenience. IoT increasingly sounds like a Hackers’ Holiday to this Editor. And don’t even whisper what the effect of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) weapon would be on all this.  Hat tip to reader and contributor Sarianne Gruber of MovedbyMetrics.

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