The Internet of Things (IoT) revolution is just getting started, and it will bring a lot of good to the world.
From a consumer standpoint, IoT will finally make Star Wars-style conveniences a reality, and save hassles such as knowing in advance when a refrigerator is likely to break. On the economics side, the industrial Internet alone has the potential to add from $10 to $15 trillion to global GDP over the next 20 years, according to General Electric; Cisco (News - Alert) forecasts $19 trillion in global economic value created by IoT by 2020.
IoT also will bring new headaches in the form of what some have called the “Evil Internet of Things,” also known as connected devices that have been hacked for nefarious purposes.
While the dangers of a world of connected devices that’s been hacked is best illustrated by the Sci-Fi series Battlestar Galactica, a much more mundane vision of this Evil Internet of Things already exists in the wild and shows some of what we could face.
Specifically, we are starting to see malicious wireless access points, hacked Bluetooth and Wi-Fi gear, hacking and pretesting drop boxes, cellular hacking, wireless keylogging and covert micro computing devices that can be used to steal digital data.
This evilness can be installed at a low level in the network stack and compromise all other layers of defense. Today’s rogue devices can circumvent Network Access Controls (NAC), domain authentication, network and wireless intrusion prevention systems (IPS), application aware firewalls, high security wireless deployments and even HTTPS/SSL encryption.
Once deployed, these malicious devices can operate for weeks, months or even years without detection. They can be remotely controlled by covert channels, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 4G/LTE (News - Alert) cellular and sometimes even text messages.
Stopping this evil IoT threat can take many forms, but web-scale networking will undoubtedly play its part. Just as IoT opens up new opportunities for threat, web-scale networking can help identify the threats on the network and isolate them.
We’re still in early days when it comes to both IoT and its malicious variety. But this definitely is a problem that will need to be addressed. As long as there are people who are ethically challenged, there will be exploitation of the technology of the day for malicious ends.