When refrigerators attack: The Internet of Everything and the rising tide of cyber risks to your business
Late last year, in what has now become routine news, a large-scale cyberattack deployed nearly 750,000 malicious email communications emanating from over 100,000 everyday devices. But this attack had a twist: It was the first confirmed occasion that a smart home appliance – in this case a refrigerator – was used as a weapon of mass disruption.
At a time when cyber risks have assumed a permanent place on the list of things that cause fretful sleep for business owners, a refrigerator might not seem especially menacing. The reality, however, is that a whirlwind of interconnected global risks to businesses is emerging. Smart devices are part of the internet of everything (IoE), the network of objects embedded with electronics, software, sensors and connectivity to enable greater value and service by exchanging data with the manufacturer, operator and/or other connected devices.
“What’s concerning is that most of the vulnerabilities that can be and have been exploited are known vulnerabilities – it’s nothing new and exotic, and not based on a new technology.”
“The IoE will be integrated into every market you can think of – from healthcare to the energy industry and transport network – but it hasn’t been designed with security in mind,” says Jamison Nesbitt, founder of Cyber Senate, a community of global cybersecurity business leaders. “There are millions of hackers out there that could compromise these interconnected systems. We have sacrificed security for efficiency.”
The upsides of the IoE for consumers and businesses are plentiful, and that potential is reflected in some very big numbers. The total of interconnected devices in use long ago surpassed the number of people on the planet, and yet only .06 percent of devices that could be connected currently are connected. Within two years, 82 percent of businesses globally will have IoE applications implemented into their activities; and with 94 percent of businesses seeing ROI on machine-to-machine communication, this interconnectivity will only grow. Smart homes, smart cars, smart factories, smart cities – by 2020 it is estimated that the IoE market will be worth $7.1 trillion.