Internet of Things: a wide net of connections, where objects and real places interchange information through the Internet in order to improve the quality of the lifestyle. The smart devices connected with the net are capable of interacting with the exterior environment recovering, elaborating and transferring pieces of information between the Internet and the real world. But what are the advantages and risks about this? Many of the connected objects that we use every day offer great advantages and make our life easier, but the system presents also a few risks we should not underestimate: security, privacy, digital ethics, technologic unemployment, etc.
Let’s think about the comfort of interacting with our electrical appliances even when we are not at home. Starting the washing machine or heating the oven in order to find clean clothes or dinner ready when you get back from work are just a few examples of the power of electrical appliances provided with chip, sensors or radio connection devices allowing a remote control thanks to a software and an app. But a delicate field like this should have some precise rules. The lack of a legislation concerning the security of the objects that can be connected to the Internet allows hackers to operate very easily. Every system memorizing personal information or having something to do with the intellectual property can be easily in danger if the net protection systems are weak or if you underestimate the value of the risk. Just think about the several toys recording the voice of kids, memorizing their conversation in an unprotected online server, or the smart light bulbs that can be sabotaged, the gps trackers that should give you the security of monitoring your children’s movements but that actually represent a huge risk if intercepted by hackers who could localize your children’s position anytime.
The dangers related to the objects connected with the internet only have one huge limit: the one connected with the fantasy of the hackers. Yes, because these objects can exploit, if intercepted by the wrong persons, the advantages that they could possibly offer, turning them into real dangers.
This is what was reported by the security expert Eyal Ronen who, together with Colin O’Flynn (student at Dalhousie University of Canada) attended the conference Black Hat Security in Las Vegas dedicated to the world of Informatics. They brought the results obtained thanks to a drone that allowed them to take control of the smart light bulbs Philips Hue in order to prove their believes over the danger of the Internet of Things. This kind of light bulbs are well known for their security and the total management by smartphones. The fact that these devices were in a building full of companies particularly focused on the security made the challenge even more exciting. Anyway the hacking was possible after a very short time and they could make the installation flash.
Undoubtedly Internet of things offers great advantages for the final customer and companies, but more warranties related to the security must be introduced. It’s fundamental being aware of the risks we are taking and of the solutions in order to keep our devices and private life safe so, when we are willing to buy the last smart device in commerce, let’s consider the levels of security.