Internet of Things

Black Hat Briefings

Missing in Action At BlackHat: The PC

Once the target of choice for hackers of all stripes, personal computers (PC) will be -at most- a side attraction at this year’s annual Black Hat Briefings show in Las Vegas, where presentations on ways to attack mobile devices and other networked “stuff” will take center stage. Just over ten percent of the scheduled talks and turbo talks at The Black Hat Briefings in early August (5 of 47)  will be devoted to attacks against what might be considered “traditional” endpoints, like end user systems and servers running Microsoft’s Windows, Apple’s Mac OSX and Linux. By contrast, more than 30% will discuss security flaws and attacks against mobile phones or other “smart” devices including wireless surveillance cameras, home automation systems and smart meters. The dearth of PC-focused talks isn’t a new trend in and of itself. As far back as 2006, talks that explicitly discussed security issues with components of Microsoft’s […]

Monoculture 2.0: Will Android’s Rise Be A Security Nightmare?

There have been a bunch of interesting articles in recent weeks that highlight the rapid expansion of Google’s Android operating system from phones and tablets to all kinds of intelligent devices. They beg the question: is Android becoming the Microsoft Windows of the fast-emerging “Internet of Things.” And, if so, we might ask: ‘What are the security implications of that?’ First the skinny on Android’s growing dominance of the intelligent device sector. Ashlee Vance over at Businessweek.com delved into that with an article “Behind the Internet of Things is Android – and its everywhere.” Vance makes the point that Android is not only the choice for 75% of the handset makers these days – it’s also become the OS of choice for anyone making anything with a processor and a networking stack. The effect of that is akin to what Microsoft encountered when Windows went from being just another PC […]

Podcast: The Big Truth – Responding To Sophisticated Attacks

If you work at a rank and file corporation in the U.S. or Europe, stories like those about the breach at the defense contractor Qinetiq are terrifying. Here’s a company that’s on the bleeding edge of technology, making autonomous vehicles and other high-tech gadgetry for the U.S. Military. Despite that, it finds itself the hapless victim of a devastating cyber breach that lasts – by all accounts – for months, or years. In the end, the attackers (likely linked to China’s People’s Liberation Army) make off with the company’s intellectual property (likely all of it) and, soon, defense contractors in Mainland China start turning out devices that look eerily similar to the ones Qinetiq makes. Ouch! If a company like Qinetiq can’t stop an attack by advanced persistent threats (APT) – or whatever name you want to use –  what hope do overworked IT admins at rank and file enterprises […]

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DARPA Tests Smart, Augmenting Uniform

Everyone on the Left Coast is tweeting about Google Glass this week. But, let’s face it, @projectglass is really about dis-intermediating the viewing screen. Now, over at DARPA’s Web site, we really get to see what the future of intelligent apparel looks like, namely: the DARPA Warrior Web, a next generation augmenting and intelligent uniform. DARPA on Wednesday released photos and a video of a soldier wearing a Warrior Web prototype, which augments “the soldier’s own muscles to significantly boost endurance, carrying capacity and overall war fighter effectiveness.” The prototype shown is one of many under evaluation by the Army with the goal of providing increased protection to soldiers and reducing the “metabolic cost of carrying a typical assault load” – which is often in excess of 100 lbs, according to DARPA. Muscular-skeletal injuries due to wear and tear are a leading cause of soldiers not being deployed to action. Of course, […]

IT Security A Major Stumbling Block To Smart Manufacturing

The Internet of Things holds tremendous promise for the manufacturing space. But smart factories may still be more than a decade away, due in part to a lack of solid IT security controls, according to a survey of 1,300 German manufacturing firms and academics. The survey of 1,300 members companies and universities by the German Association for Electrical, Electronic, and Information Technologies (VDE) found that only 20% anticipated adoption of “smart production” (or “Industry 4.0” – as its referred to) by the start of the next decade. In contrast, 70% of those surveyed doubted that smart manufacturing goals would be achieved by 2025, despite obvious advantages. Why the skepticism? One commonly cited reason is a lack of strong IT security. According to a write-up on SAP’s blog, IT security was the most oft-cited obstacle to setting up smart factories. Sixty six percent of those surveyed cited security concerns as a reason to […]