IEEE Spectrum has an article that provides a nice overview of security and privacy issues on the Internet of Things. The article by Mark Anderson highlights a number of the issues that have cropped up on these pages as well, namely: the rush to market in the consumer IoT space (much of it driven by crowd funding sites like IndieGoGo and Kickstarter) the lack of a strong business case for (consumer) manufacturers to build security into IoT products the tendency of large manufacturers to pursue siloed security standards that thwart efforts to build devices interconnect with other IoT infrastructure (other devices, routers, etc.) So far efforts to coordinate IoT development around a single platform or set of standards have been reduced to predictable turf battles: Google’s Thread versus multi-vendor efforts like TheAllSeen Alliance, The Open Interconnect Consortium, The Industrial Internet Consortium versus Apple HomeKit and HealthKit and others. In the […]
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Kelly Jackson Higgins over at Dark Reading has a really interesting story about a researcher who is building a NAS worm. That’s right: some automated malware that will be capable of roaming the Internet finding and compromising consumer network attached storage (NAS) devices. Higgins interviewed Jacob Holcomb, a security analyst at the firm Independent Security Evaluators, has rolled more than two dozen previously unknown and undiscovered (‘zero day’) software vulnerabilities in NAS products into a proof-of-concept, self-replicating worm. According to Higgins, the worm scans for vulnerable services running on NAS systems — mostly web servers — and identifies the type of NAS device and whether it harbors the bugs. If a known, vulnerable platform is discovered, the worm launches the corresponding exploit from its quiver to take control of the device. Compromised devices are then used to scan for other, similar devices. Holcomb has already informed affected vendors – a list that includes […]
Two of the three vendors who were victims of a targeted malware attack dubbed ‘Dragonfly’ by the security firm Symantec have been identified by industrial control system security experts. Writing on Tuesday, Dale Peterson of the firm Digitalbond identified the vendors as MB Connect Line, a German maker of industrial routers and remote access appliances and eWon, a Belgian firm that makes virtual private network (VPN) software that is used to access industrial control devices like programmable logic controllers. Peterson has also identified the third vendor, identified by F-Secure as a Swiss company, but told The Security Ledger that he cannot share the name of that firm. The three firms, which serve customers in industry, including owners of critical infrastructure, were the subject of a warning from the Department of Homeland Security. DHS’s ICS CERT, the Industrial Control Systems Computer Emergency Response Team, said it was alerted to compromises of the vendors’ by researchers […]
Say ‘technology monoculture’ and most people (who don’t look at you cross-eyed or say ‘God bless you!’) will say “Microsoft” or “Windows” or “Microsoft Windows.” That makes sense. Windows still runs on more than 90% of all desktop systems, long after Redmond’s star is rumored to have dimmed next to that of Apple. Microsoft is the poster child for the dangers and benefits of a monoculture. Hardware makers and application developers have a single platform to write to – consumers have confidence that the software and hardware they buy will “just work” so long as they’re running some version of Windows. The downside, of course, is that the Windows monoculture has also been a boon to bad guys, who can tailor exploits to one operating system or associated application (Office, Internet Explorer) and be confident that 9 of 10 systems their malicious software encounters will at least be running some version of the […]
I came across an interesting post over on Wearable World News today titled “The Danger of Smart Spam In the Internet of Things.” The article, by Jessica Groopman, ran yesterday and provides a kind of conceptual overview of the security and IoT space. I think Goodman gets it mostly right: she talks about the proliferation of device types and platforms that will (or already does) characterize the Internet of Things. With hundreds of billions (compared with hundreds of millions) of Internet connected endpoints, cyber criminals, hacktivists and other bad actors have an even greater ability to create armies of compromised endpoints and harness their collective power in attacks. Goodman also gets it right when she notes that many “smart” devices run commodity operating systems like Linux and don’t require lots of special effort to reverse engineer. Finally, IoT devices frequently are low power and embedded systems that lack the processing […]