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IoT Security: A Doomsday Scenario Waiting to Unfold

Cheap and scalable security solutions need to be employed to secure numerous devices, and to identify the attacks and mitigate them as they unfold.
By Yotam Gutman

Smart Utilities
The first cyber-attack on physical devices happened a long time ago, at the break of the new millennium. But the methods used could still be applied today: by attacking Internet-facing utility devices, such as sewage and water-flow sensors and actuators, attackers could have a significant impact without having to penetrate more robust IT or OT networks.

Smart-City Mayhem
Having a connected urban infrastructure is a terrific thing. The problem is that once you are used to relying on it, there is no turning back. If the traffic lights, traffic-monitoring cameras and parking sensors (all connected) are offline or manipulated, cities can suffer large-scale interferences to their inhabitants' daily lives. This scenario will become even more critical as a greater number of connected cars take to the roads; these are dependent on communicating with other vehicles and the surroundings, and such interferences could cause massive traffic jams or even accidents.

Simple Terror
Since we are all now aware of the potential impact of a devastating cyber-attack, it would not take much to invoke large-scale hysteria. Just imagine someone hacking street signage and altering it to display messages from a country's enemies. Similarly, interfering with emergency systems and triggering warning sirens on a crowded weekday could result in panic and casualties.

The scenarios described above present an interesting mind-shift in both attack and defense methodologies. Attackers will acknowledge that it is easier to hack multiple, smaller and seemingly insignificant targets, but with destructive cumulative power. Defenders must also acknowledge that the paradigm of "securing the crown jewels" behind multiple layers of security simply isn't valid anymore. New, cheap and scalable security solutions need to be employed to secure numerous devices—and to identify the attacks and mitigate them as they unfold—before millions of devices are infected.

Yotam Gutman, a retired lieutenant commander with the Israeli Navy, has filled several operational, technical and business roles at defense, HLS, intelligence and cybersecurity companies. Following a successful consulting career in which he supported multiple cybersecurity startups in marketing and business development activities, he joined IoT security company SecuriThings, where he now heads global marketing activities.

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