While blockchain has earned its most significant claim to fame by making possible the rise of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, researchers continue to propose a number of new uses for this technology. This includes everything from linking global supply chains to guaranteeing the validity of election results. And, given the recent concerns about the security risks posed by the Internet of Things (IoT), the blockchain has also been proposed as a potential security fix for any physical infrastructure deploying Internet-connected devices.
We're more connected, but less secure. Internet of Things (IoT) technology is dramatically outpacing regulation. Before, only phones or computers were web-connected, but now so are cars, toasters, video cameras and door locks. Many of these devices are connected without much regard for their security ramifications, so government legislation is finally catching up. One important bill in Congress, the IoT Cybersecurity Improvement Act, would add significant security requirements for government vendors.
Chinese firm Hangzhou Xiongmai Technology is recalling webcams that were hijacked to stage a major cyber attack last week. The cyber siege took down a wide range of major websites including Twitter, Spotify and Reddit. The attack targeted internet service company Dyn, which controls the'address book' of the internet for dozens of major companies. Security experts believe that'Internet of Things' or IoT smart home devices were harnessed by hackers and use to bombard the websites with requests for information, overloading them and effectively shutting them down. DDoS attacks are a primitive form of hacking using botnets - networks of computers that hackers bring under their control.
Lost in the excitement of the 1993 blockbuster "Jurassic Park" was a simple message about the importance of ethics in engineering. "Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could," intones Jeff Goldblum as the film's chief skeptic, "they didn't stop to think if they should." In Jurassic Park, the payoff for the science was obvious: real, living dinosaurs. In our mundane real world, we instead have marketers, engineers, and startups all hell-bent on a much more modest goal: putting the internet in everything. The likely consequence: armies of compromised toasters, trashcans, pillows, and even hairbrushes, all harnessed to attack the internet by malevolent hackers across the globe.
Change the default user name and password settings on your internet-connected uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units, the US government has warned. UPS units are meant to provide power backup to keep devices, appliances and applications connected to the internet by supplying off-grid power to places like a data center during a power outage. But hackers have been targeting internet-connected UPS units to disrupt the backup power supply. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) said they "are aware of threat actors gaining access to a variety of internet-connected uninterruptable power supply (UPS) devices." Just like many Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as routers and smart-lighting systems, they are gaining access "often through unchanged default usernames and passwords."