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Beware of the Thing: Seven alarming IoT what-ifs

Posted: 05 Nov 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Internet of Things? security? connectivity?

Hijacked selfies

The smartphone is hardly a new 'thing.' But hackers are finding new ways to exploit it through apps, photos, videos, social media, and GPS.

Hijacked selfies







That selfie you took with your BFF? It doesn't need to include Barack Obama, or even Jennifer Lawrence, to become a target. The most recent example: Thousands of photos and videos from the Snapchat service were put online, apparently taken from sites such as Snapsaved.com, which, according to news reports, allowed people to log in using their Snapchat username and password to offer access to the siteand also the chance to store photos meant to be deleted within seconds of being viewed.

This year, owners of Mac and iOS devices found their iPhones and iPads held for ransom through a hack that targeted Find My iPhone and Find My Mac to trigger a remote lock of the device.

In the bag

In the bag

Security researchers Billy Rios and Terry McCorkle warn that a widely deployed TSA carry-on baggage scanner could be easily manipulated by a malicious insider or outside attacker to sneak weapons or other banned items past TSA airport checkpoints.

Among the blatant security holes: storing user credentials in plaintext and a feature that could project phony images on the X-ray display. Rios has also flagged weaknesses in two TSA detection systems at San Francisco International Airport. One of the systems included 6,000 Kronos time clocks open on the public Internet, two of which also are deployed at other US airports. (The time clock system in San Francisco has since been taken offline.)

Fake SatCom SOS

Fake SatCom SOS

Researchers are identifying holes in satellite ground terminal equipment that could be used to disrupt communications to ships, airplanes, and military operations.

Ruben Santamarta, principal security consultant with IOActive, showed this year that an attacker could compromise the satellite systems, run malware, install malicious firmware, and even send a phony SMS text to trick a ship to follow a certain path or to rescue another ship.

In the air, Santamarta said, an attacker could gain control over sub-system interfaces by taking advantage of the weak password reset feature, hard-coded credentials, or insecure protocols in cockpit communications. Though he conceded that it was unlikely that the vulnerabilities would cause a plane to crash, he said disruptions to the messaging systems still pose serious risks.

Pacemaker cyber espionage

Who could forget that chilling scene in Homeland when a terrorist hacked into a pacemaker and assassinated a fictional US vice president while an 'inside' accomplice cold-bloodedly watched? Plausible? Probably not, at least not in such a dramatic, suspense-filled moment.

Pacemaker cyber espionage

More likely, the threat scenario surrounding medical devices would be a patching problem with an embedded device (like a pacemaker) or a malware infection on network-connected equipment such as pregnancy monitors, insulin pumps, or MRI picture storage. Though researchers have been raising security concerns about these devices for some time, the US Food and Drug Administration has only recently begun to address the problem.

- Marilyn Cohodas
??Tech Online India


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