Secure your smartphone. Secure your tablet. Secure your laptop. And, before it slips our mind, secure your fish tank.
Operators of a casino in North American learned that lesson a few years back. Nicole Eagan, cybersecurity executive of security firm Darktrace, explained the fable while addressing a conference. in reference to a 2018 Business Insider report, Eagan recounted: “The attackers used that (a fish-tank thermometer) to get a foothold in the network. They then found the high-roller database and then pulled that back across the network, out the thermostat, and up to the cloud.”
Internet of Things may be to blame here. It’s all about pulseless, dumb objects. And no, we’re not referring to members of suicidal cults. These are fish-tank thermometers, elevators, machinery, engines, trucks, sprinkler systems, phones, and even inventory. These objects are being fitted with sensors and then linked back to communication systems, databases, and networks. So much so some analysts predict by 2025 that there will be as many as 32 billion plugged devices around the globe.
All of these linked devices are gifting hackers with endless possibilities. The reason being many fish tanks aren’t stocked with the forms of security protections seen in tablets, servers, laptops, and phones. Tim Erlin, strategy at security firm Tripwire and vice president of product management, said: “The industrial sector is facing a new set of challenges when it comes to securing a converged IT-OT environment. In the past, cybersecurity was focused on IT assets like servers and workstations, but the increased connectivity of systems requires that industrial security professionals expand their understanding of what’s in their environment. You can’t protect what you don’t know.”
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