That’s big business for outfits that sell data or streaming services. For the US Justice Department, it’s 50 billion potential problems.
“In our division, we’ve just started a group looking at nothing but the Internet of Things.” John P. Carlin, the US Assistant Attorney General for National Security, told the Intelligence and National Security Alliance recently at the group’s annual Summit.
Carlin framed the issue as directly related to next-generation terrorism. “Look at the terrorist attack in Nice,” he said. “If our trucks are running in an automated fashion, great efficiencies, great safety, on the one hand, but if we don’t think about how terrorists could exploit that on the front end, and not after they take a truck and run it through a crowd of civilians, we’ll regret it.”
“We made that mistake once when we moved all of our data, when we digitally connected it, and didn’t focus on how … terrorists and spies could exploit it,” he said, referring broadly to the growing abilities of state and non-state actors to steal data and put it to nefarious use. “We’re playing catch-up,” he said. “We can’t do that again when it comes to the Internet of Things, actual missiles, trucks and cars.”
But there are already thousands of vulnerable vehicles on today’s roads. Computer researchers Chris Valazek and Charlie Miller have been demonstrating how to hack various car models for years, including a famous 2013 Today Show segment, and a 2015 demonstration in which they took control of a Jeep travelling along a highway at 70 mph with a WIRED journalist inside. That journalist calculated that as many as 471,000 existing vehicles have some exploitable computer vulnerability.
Of course, Justice isn’t the only government agency sweating over the Internet of Things. In 2012, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, launched a program called the High Assurance Cyber Military Systems, or HACMS, to fix vulnerabilities that could pervade future Internet of Things devices.
Two years later, Dawn Meyerriecks, the deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency’s directorate of science and technology, noted that “smart refrigerators have been used in distributed denial of service attacks,” and cited smart fluorescent LEDs that “are communicating that they need to be replaced but are also being hijacked for other things.”
Source: Cyber Security Intelligence