So for those who’ve heard the buzzword but don’t quite know what it means, the “Internet of Things” refers to the notion that there are a lot of internet-connected devices out there that aren’t being directly interacted with by people, i.e. they aren’t computers, tablets, or phones. You remember back in the early 00s when “internet fridges” and “internet toasters” were a thing? Well, it’s like that, except less with the toasters and more with the CCTV cameras and life-saving medical equipment.
Oh, and all those devices? Massively insecure. Like, “Windows in the 1990s” levels of insecure.
The linked article is from last year, which is why it can afford to get away with the word “hilariously” in the title. Creeping on other people’s baby monitors on Shodan was “hilarious” in 2015, I guess, if you’re one of those morally void hoodie-wearing assholes who’s into that sort of thing (and a lot of INFOSEC people are, sadly). In 2016, however, IoT-based botnets have offlined major chucks of the internet at least once in the last few months, with some evidence whomever is controlling said botnets is performing the sort of reconnaissance you’d need to perform if you were testing exactly how many, for example, shitty baby monitors you’d need to take down an entire country’s internet access.
Hi, everyone, and welcome to Cyberwar 101.
And how did we get to this place, you might ask? Why, thanks to the tech industry’s complete and utter failure to enforce any kind of basic safety requirements over software, coupled with governments’ refusal to legislate. The software industry is essentially like the car industry would be if there were no rules about, for example, stopping distances on brakes or how bright headlights should be, and also that at any time all cars could be made to instantly crash into the nearest obstacle regardless of driver intention.
This is, essentially, when you put the world’s most important technologies in the hands of libertarian Millennial dickweeds who’ve inherited the morally bankrupt all-authoritarianism-is-bad-except-our-authoritarianism mantras of sell-out Baby Boomer hippies.
Welcome to the future, I guess.