FinTech Journal Authors: Elizabeth White, Valeriia Timokhina, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Roger Strukhoff

Related Topics: FinTech Journal, Cloud Security, @DXWorldExpo, @ThingsExpo

FinTech Journal: Article

When Things Attack! | @ThingsExpo #IoT #M2M #API #Security

The hacking game has changed

As I started writing this blog, I happened to be watching an episode from the new season of Black Mirror on Netflix. Black Mirror is a Sci-Fi anthology series, ala the Twilight Zone, although with a much darker perspective on both humanity and technology. I found the episode, ‘Most Hated in the Nation' somewhat apropos to my topic. The episode follows a police detective investigating the apparent murder of a columnist. This individual has been deluged with social media hate diatribes that would seem familiar to many. As the investigation continues, more mysterious deaths occur, with the victims all being targets of similar social media anger. Meanwhile, in the background, there are various news stories and visual cuts to ADIs (Autonomic Drone Insects). These tiny bee-like drones are being deployed throughout the country to replace the dying bee population, allowing for the continued pollinizing of crops.

Spoiler alert! As you can probably guess, it turns out someone was able to hack into the ADIs to pervert their actual purpose. The drones were killing the individuals in a rather gruesome fashion and the killer was using the social media hate to target his victims. There was the obligatory arguments from the manufacturers that the ADIs could not be hacked.... pause for effect...except for the back doors the government forced them to put in so the drones could be used for surveillance. Then enter the standard disgruntled employee who leveraged the back doors to make a very public and violent social statement about spewing hate in social media without consequences. (As I mentioned, Black Mirror takes a very dark view on both humanity and technology in most of their episodes.) The killer hacked millions of small intelligent devices, and turned them into weapons.

The recent Internet outage, a new kind of attack
On Friday morning, October 21, the first of several DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks on the core DNS infrastructure of the Internet on the East coast occurred. This attack caused significant outages for major internet sites such as Twitter, Spotify, Reddit, and Amazon. I was working remotely for a client and felt the impact directly. The client provides consultants access to their internal environments via Amazon Workspace. On Friday morning, we could not get access to that environment while the attack was occurring, which, as you can imagine, made for a very frustrating day.

DDoS attacks are not a new phenomenon. However, there were several key things that made this one a little different:

  • Most DDoS target a specific website or company. This one targeted a key part of the internet infrastructure, DNS, provided by a particular vendor, Dyn. This resulted in it having much broader reach and impact.
  • Dyn described the attack as a "very sophisticated and complex attack." As Dyn took mitigation steps against the attack, it would change, and adapt, making their efforts to respond much more difficult. They would start blocking the attack from one area, and very shortly, new IP addresses from a completely different part of the world would start attacking.
  • The attack was coming from tens of millions of discreet IP addresses from around the world. In the past, these kind of attacks came from hijacked computers and laptops that had been infected with malware. This attack went further. Besides the same hijacked computers, this attack also used infected "Things" from the Internet of Things. Devices like DVR's, webcams, baby monitors, and home routers.

Mr. President, they are using our own devices against us
Okay, I admit, a little corny, but the point is a valid one (bonus points if you can identify the movie I am paraphrasing). The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing at astronomical rates. Gartner predicts that by the end of this year there will be over 6.4 billion "things" on the Internet, up 30% from last year. They estimate we are currently adding 5.5 million devices every day. A common topic of discussion and concern in the IoT space is security. As those that frequently read my articles know, this is a topic near and dear to my heart, quite literally. I have a pacemaker and insertable cardiac monitor in my chest (see my recent blog, ‘Musings on the Internet of Things - I am now a Thing'). Whenever the words IoT and Security show up in my newsfeed, I pay attention.

Most often when discussing security concerns related to the Internet of Things, the conversation tends to focus on two aspects:

  • The increased attack surface: All of these devices extend the attack surface of networks, providing more potential entrée points into a corporate network.
  • The potential lack of solid security implementation in these devices. Many devices still ship with standard default username/passwords, and sadly, many users never bother changing them (see my blog ‘Hacking and the Internet of Things' for some detailed descriptions of this).

This attack takes the first item of concern, attack surface, and completely flips it on its head. Instead of worrying about the devices acting as an entrée point to access data, we now have to worry about the devices being an actual tool and weapon in the attacks themselves. While not going to the extreme level of the Black Mirror episode I mentioned at the beginning, the hackers have started weaponizing our Things on the Internet. They are using them against us. The hackers are able to accomplish this in large part due to the second item of concern I mentioned. The lack of security implementations on many devices is a continuing struggle in the world of the Internet of Things. Balancing consumer ease of use with security is like walking a tightrope over a tank full of hungry sharks. Striking that balance is never easy.

No, the Things are not going to destroy civilization as we know it
This is not meant to be a doomsday prophesy. I do not subscribe to the dark view of humanity and technology displayed in Black Mirror. The Internet of Things, like any disruptive technology, has the ability to turn our viewpoints and paradigms on their heads. Last week's attack is a prime example of that. Given the raw numbers, the Internet of Things genie is out of the bottle, and there is no putting it back in. No technology negates the need for good design and planning. Those designs and plans must always include security as a key area of focus.

As technologists, we need to look at security from a different perspective. We have to think about the potential hackers differently. In the old paradigm, it was simple: protect the data, protect the boundaries of the data centers. That is still valid and needs to be done. But in addition, we need to look through the lens of disruptive technologies and work with vendors to implement stronger security measures on their devices. Work with educating end users about their use of these devices, ensuring they do not compromise them in the name of ease of use. We also need to look at other new disruptive technologies that could help in this battle. For example, machine learning is starting to be looked at as a tool that might help identify and respond to a security breach, adapting to changing attack patterns.

Ultimately, security in the world of technology is always a delicate balancing act between access, usability, and protection. It is critical to understand the risks, work with the business to educate them on the balance/tradoffs, and take the appropriate measures to ensure the proper balance is maintained. Oh, and if you hear a bee buzzing near your head, ignore it, I am sure it's nothing.

Register for @CloudExpo/@ThingsExpo 'FREE' Before Friday! Here

@ThingsExpo - The World's Largest 'Internet of Things' Event, November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center!

Secrets of Sponsors and ExhibitorsHere
Secrets of Cloud Expo SpeakersHere

All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.

@CloudExpo / @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley
(November 1-3, 2016, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA)

@CloudExpo / @ThingsExpo 2017 New York
(June 6-8, 2017, Javits Center, Manhattan)

With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be.

Register for @CloudExpo/@ThingsExpo 'FREE' Before Friday! Here

Track 1: Enterprise Cloud & Digital Transformation
Track 2: Microservices | Cloud Hot Topics
Track 3: Internet of Things & Cloud
Track 4: APIs & Cloud Security
Track 5: Big Data Analytics
Track 6: DevOps, Continuous Delivery & Containers
Track 7: Enterprise IoT & IIoT
Track 8: IoT Developer
Track 9: Consumer IoT | IoT Hot Topics

Delegates to Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo will be able to attend 9 simultaneous, information-packed education tracks.

There are over 120 breakout sessions in all, with Keynotes, General Sessions, and Power Panels adding to three days of incredibly rich presentations and content.

Join @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo conference chair Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040), June 7-9, 2016 in New York City, for three days of intense 'Internet of Things' discussion and focus, including Big Data's indispensable role in IoT, Smart Grids and Industrial Internet of Things, Wearables and Consumer IoT, as well as (new) IoT's use in Vertical Markets.

About SYS-CON Media & Events
SYS-CON Media (www.sys-con.com) has since 1994 been connecting technology companies and customers through a comprehensive content stream - featuring over forty focused subject areas, from Cloud Computing to Web Security - interwoven with market-leading full-scale conferences produced by SYS-CON Events. The company's internationally recognized brands include among others Cloud Expo® (@CloudExpo), Big Data Expo® (@BigDataExpo), DevOps Summit (@DevOpsSummit), @ThingsExpo® (@ThingsExpo), Containers Expo (@ContainersExpo) and Microservices Expo (@MicroservicesE).

Cloud Expo®, Big Data Expo® and @ThingsExpo® are registered trademarks of Cloud Expo, Inc., a SYS-CON Events company.

More Stories By Ed Featherston

Ed Featherston is VP, Principal Architect at Cloud Technology Partners. He brings 35 years of technology experience in designing, building, and implementing large complex solutions. He has significant expertise in systems integration, Internet/intranet, and cloud technologies. He has delivered projects in various industries, including financial services, pharmacy, government and retail.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that "Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO" has announced that its Call for Papers is now open. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Financial enterprises in New York City, London, Singapore, and other world financial capitals are embracing a new generation of smart, automated FinTech that eliminates many cumbersome, slow, and expe...
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of bus...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
As IoT continues to increase momentum, so does the associated risk. Secure Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) is ranked as one of the most important technology areas of IoT. Driving this trend is the realization that secure support for IoT devices provides companies the ability to deliver high-quality, reliable, secure offerings faster, create new revenue streams, and reduce support costs, all while building a competitive advantage in their markets. In this session, we will use customer use cases...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICOHOLDER named "Media Sponsor" of Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO. ICOHOLDER give you detailed information and help the community to invest in the trusty projects. Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO has opened its Call for Papers. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO also offers s...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, shared examples from a wide range of industries – including en...
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...