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IoT & Terrorism: How Connected Devices Lead to Murder

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IoT & Terrorism: How Connected Devices Lead to Murder

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Okay, so maybe an apocalyptic uprising of connected machines is not going to happen. Don't worry, though - there's still plenty of reason to believe that the Internet of Things will somehow lead to your death! According to Stuart Lauchlan at diginomica, the next great risk is almost here, and it's not even the Things themselves.

It is, of course, the terrorists.

To be specific, Lauchlan points (tongue firmly in cheek) to the 2014 iOCTA (Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment) from Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), which has predicted that the world will witness its first IoT murder within the next few months, and that it will be the work of criminals and terrorists:

That . . . lurid prediction is actually parroting a report by US security firm IID, but Europol is warning that criminals and terrorists will use the IoT – or the Internet of Everything (IoE) as Europol calls it – and all its connected smart devices as weapons against the innocent.

There is certainly something familiar about the image of IoT-hacking ne'er-do-wells:

But Europol's prediction is not so tongue-in-cheek. A big part of their reasoning is that IoT is insecure. That seems to be a fairly valid concern. After all, we've heard quite a bit about how a possible (if not likely) future for IoT includes a security hellscape in which clueless companies fail to patch products as they stop supporting them, and everybody ends up with Doom installed on their toaster (or something along those lines).

According to Europol, the problem is that an insecure IoT is big playground for crime:

With the Internet of Everything expanding and becoming more widely adopted, new forms of critical infrastructure will appear and dependencies on existing ones will become more critical. As public and private sector organisations are outsourcing data, applications, platforms and entire infrastructures to large cloud service providers, cloud computing itself will become a critical infrastructure.

Which is a problem because:

. . . Big and Fast Data, the Internet of Everything, wearable devices, augmented reality, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and the transition to IPv6 will provide additional attack vectors and an increased attack surface for criminals. This will be exacerbated by how emerging and new technologies will be used and how they will influence people’s online behaviour.

Europol has a few recommendations for curbing these dangers, but they aren't particularly innovative ideas - make sure policy-makers understand IoT, and make sure companies consider security, and things like that. Take comfort, though: according to Europol, you've still got a few months left to live.

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