The Internet of Things (or IoT) is a vision that many people have for how the internet will evolve over the next few years. There are many different definitions, but they all involve putting many different types of objects on the internet through the use of sensors, communication devices and tiny embedded computers.
One of the more popular IoT devices currently is the Nest Learning Thermostat developed by Nest Labs. Nest Labs was sold to Google in January 2014 for $3.2B. Yes, IoT is assumed to be that big.
IoT devices generate a lot of excitement and interest, but also a lot of fear because of security concerns. There are a few reasons for this:
- IoT devices are notoriously full of security vulnerabilities. Consider the unfortunate fate of the Belkin WeMo home automation device. There are many devices out there that have similar issues.
- If these devices are taken over by hackers, there is typically no way for the average person to find this out. These devices have no display or “typical” user interface, and they won’t necessarily exhibit behavior that people will find problematic. It’s possible that an IoT device could be infected with malware for many years without anyone even knowing.
While this website is not really about IoT, the security aspects of it greatly overlap the security aspects of home routers/networks. Because of this, it is worthwhile to occasionally pay attention to that space.