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The Risks Of The Internet Of Things

Cybersecurity is more complex than ever. Given the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), by 2022, each person will generate 1.7 megabytes of information per second. As new technologies evolve, cybercriminals adapt and discover new hacking methods to capture sensitive data. AI and IoT can revolutionise society, but what happens when cyber criminals control these new technologies?

Unless hardware-based security solutions are implemented in the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence devices, users become vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Anyone with access to one or more of these devices will have free access to many computers and networks. Banks, governments, the healthcare industry, and even households are major risk arenas. Cybercriminals know that the more interconnected devices, the more data there is that can be compromised.

AI was created so that, thanks to machine learning, it could go beyond the capabilities of the human being and see patterns that we are not capable of perceiving. In addition, machines can evolve and detect patterns for which they have not even been programmed. Analysing data with these capabilities opens up many possibilities, but at the same time, it comes with many risks. The dangers associated with cybersecurity are not properly considered when manufacturing IoT and AI devices.

Internet Of Things In Financial Institutions

Thanks to the Internet of Things, we enter information from our mobile devices, bank cards, and payment details on many platforms (such as Google) and automated devices (such as Amazon’s Alexa) to buy online. The appeal of having this information stored on these virtual sites is the convenience it brings to everyday life.

However, the reality is that many people do not know what happens with such information. For manufacturers, the primary focus of devices is to provide the best customer experience and usability. But how much technology is used to protect the data stored by these devices?

Mobile banking apps can learn user patterns, knowing when and where they shop. They can also spot patterns outside of your standard weekly trades. Thus, they use this information to create data profiles of each individual.

These banking apps have higher security than other IoT and AI devices. In addition, they warn the user of possible fraud alerts. However, the massive existence of data serves as an incentive for third parties to invest time and effort to access and manipulate it.

Technology And Health Sector

Incorporating technology into the health sector is associated with even more concentrated risks at the individual level. Many of the devices used in this industry are of the embedded type, being found on the body or inside it, such as pacemakers or transfusion systems.

Despite the great technological development present in these, the low level of implemented cybersecurity makes them susceptible to malware. This means that the stored data is vulnerable to being read and extracted by third parties.

To avoid this, devices must incorporate a level of trust that prevents intrusions and unauthorised access. However, this could lead to a life or death situation. If a hacker gains access to a pacemaker and deliberately disables or causes it to malfunction, the patient can die.

Smart Houses

Smart homes increasingly incorporate more technology based on the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence. Refrigerators, light bulbs, blinds, televisions… As with online banking, the appeal of this technology is to make the routine easier and allow people to focus their attention on more interesting aspects.

The key to smart home devices is to predict a person’s needs and daily patterns. They track the person’s interaction with the device and store the information. The recorded data is communicated to a server, but if this communication link is not secure, it becomes an easy route for hackers to access the home. Similarly, if the data stored on the server or database is not encrypted, there is a risk of breach.

Although the concept of the fridge being hacked is even funny, the reality is that the danger goes far beyond a hacker knowing how many eggs we eat. Accessing this data and other connected devices gives hackers access to the home and can cause serious security problems. Many of these devices are so small that embedding a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) is not a priority or cost-effective for the vendor, but it does hurt the consumer in the long run.

Automotive Internet Of Things

In recent years, the incorporation of IoT devices in vehicles has skyrocketed. This means that users end up providing information about their driving habits. These devices are often linked to insurance providers, giving them access to all data and can lower insurance rates if they drive within a certain set of parameters. However, the cybersecurity risks of this type of device can affect both the consumer and the related company.

Once a vehicle is connected to the Internet, a connection is created between the insurance provider and the vehicle, exposing all information to hackers. OBD-II dongles can provide remote access to vehicles and cause serious personal injury, such as disabling car brakes.

The insurance provider’s servers receiving the data may also become a target on a larger scale. Hackers can potentially gain access to background systems and launch remote attacks on entire vehicle fleets. Finally, if networks are not properly segmented, hackers can access provider databases, breaching vast amounts of personal data .

Vehicle manufacturers are also increasing the number of smart systems installed in new models. These systems allow the car to access an individual’s phone, contacts, cameras, and other data associated with ‘intelligent life.’ All this information is fed back to the manufacturer and its servers.

If a car is sold without being properly wiped, the data will still be stored in the cloud. This opens up a wide range of possibilities and security risks.

Cybersecurity In 2022

As 2022 progresses, a significant increase in the security of devices with the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence becomes more necessary. If a single device doesn’t provide adequate security to prevent cyberattacks, it is immediately exposed to the entire network it’s connected to. Fixing these weaknesses will protect an individual, corporate, and national scale.

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