When The Internet of Things (IoT) Turns Your Business Into A Zombie
It may sound like the theme of the next Hollywood horror film. But, the fact is, your business could have already become a Zombie without your knowledge.
You may wonder what exactly is a zombie? According to Wikipedia, “In computer science, a zombie computer is a computer connected to the Internet that has been compromised by a hacker, computer virus or trojan horse and can be used to perform malicious tasks of one sort or another under remote direction. Botnets of zombie computers are often used to spread e-mail spam and launch denial-of-service attacks. Most owners of zombie computers are unaware that their system is being used in this way. Because the owner tends to be unaware, these computers are metaphorically compared to zombies. A coordinated DDoS attack by multiple botnet machines also resembles a zombie horde attack. Many computer users are unaware that their computer is infected with bots.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Botnet)
Beyond The Benefits
Having multiple interconnected devices is becoming more and more popular in homes and businesses throughout the world. It’s an exciting idea with a long list of seemingly desirable benefits. However, few people consider what could go wrong until something goes wrong. For instance, back in the fall of 2016, there was a big attack on an Internet service provider in which a bunch of IoT devices became a botnet and made much of the Internet unavailable.
The Risk to Business
Bringing IoT devices into companies of any size presents enormous risks. Consider the following small business owner scenario: The owners of the corner coffee shop purchase home-grade-security devices to better monitor and protect their business. Naturally, they connect the system to their Wi-Fi network. The business owners don’t even think about the potential ramifications should the device get hacked. If it isn’t secure and does get hacked, cybercriminals can monitor customer traffic and flow, and even zoom in on credit card numbers if the camera is near the cash register.
No End To The Risk
The risk doesn’t end with small businesses. Moving up to the midsize perspective, many of these businesses are utilizing things such as smart TVs. Often smart TVs are connected to a Wi-Fi network to display analytics and statistics. Very often those TVs are connecting back to their manufacturers to gather advertising information and your usage statistics. That, in and of itself is not the biggest issue. Some of the new TVs have webcams on them with incorporated microphones. And then there are cameras in the lobby. All this private business data about when and where people are coming and going and what they are doing is being recorded in the cloud, protected only by a password. Cyber criminals can gain access to all of this information and can take over control of the connected computer systems without those utilizing the systems being aware.
While the convenience of IoT cannot be denied, it is important to think about what kind of data your company collects and where it is going before deploying connected devices within your organization. Privacy is being exploited every minute of every day in the digital world.
For businesses of any size, cyber security is integral to the prevention of your company becoming compromised by hackers and cyber criminals. VORAS Consulting works with companies, government agencies and businesses of all sizes. Schedule a consultation today.