Interpol is warning that the rush to connect everything to the Internet could put their security and privacy at risk. The world’s largest international police organization urges consumers to consider the risks of connected devices and protect their smart homes the way they do their computers and mobile phones.
“All devices which can connect to the Internet – collectively called the ‘Internet of Things’ or IoT – are potentially at risk of a cyberattack,” the release notes.
This statement could be read as a wordier version of Hypponen’s Law, which was coined in 2016 by Mikko Hypponen, F-Secure’s Chief Research Officer: “Whenever an appliance is described as being “smart”, it’s vulnerable.”
Anyone who followed the news about the Mirai botnet, which launched the largest denial of service attack in history, already knows that “Everyday personal items like video cameras, refrigerators and televisions can be used by cybercriminals for malicious means.”
But Interpol’s strong warning suggests growing fears that even law enforcement is unprepared for the explosive growth of connected devices. There are now more connected devices than people on the planet and the total number of “things” that go online is expected to double to more than 20 billion by 2020.
“In the world of cybercrime, the number of IoT devices a criminal has access to is seen as a sign of their status,” Interpol says.
Our recent Threat Landscape Snapshot finds that hackers are regularly searching out IoT devices to hack — and the potential risks of billions of insecure devices will create vulnerabilities that law enforcement will be contending with soon and for the rest of their careers. And Interpol doesn’t think these departments are ready to face this changing threat landscape yet.
“Although police around the world are developing the skills necessary to forensically examine computers and mobile phones, they are often not aware of how to collect evidence from other connected devices,” the report says.
And it’s not just law enforcement who need to catch up with the times.
“Most people use anti-virus products and update their software and programs regularly on their computers and mobile phones to protect them from cyberthreats,” the release says. “But few people take the same precautions to secure their connected devices, leaving them vulnerable to attacks.”
Interpol’s suggestions include:
- Change the factory default passwords – these can be the same for hundreds or thousands of devices, making it easy for criminals to hack;
- Regularly update all software;
- Disable features which allow the device to be accessed remotely;
- Take extra care when buying used devices – you don’t know what the previous owner installed on the device.
You also have the option to secure all your connected devices they way you do your PCs and smartphones using a solution like F-Secure SENSE, a WiFi router that secures all your connected devices in your home network along with all your devices wherever you go.
It’s the kind of protection that is built for a home and a future where everything is connected.