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The Internet of Things is a Cyberwar Nightmare

This article brings attention to the fact that the growing “Internet of Things” is highly vulnerable to cyber attack and will provide many new opportunities for cyber criminals to attack new actors in the cyber domain. The article focuses almost exclusively on non-state actors because “the barriers to entry have become low enough that hackers no longer need the backing of a government” to be dangerous. The sheer volume of new devices being added to the internet and the new variety of devices adds to the danger of a growing network of “botnets” being used for malicious purposes. The article suggests that simply preventing devices from connecting to the internet is not a viable solution because the value of connecting such devices is too great. Instead, we need to ensure that these devices are properly secured. We can do this through 3 mechanisms: First, manufacturers need to be properly motivated to properly secure their devices at the outset and provide continuous updates to their devices to prevent vulnerability. Second, governments need to act to provide the tools consumers and companies need to secure these devices. Third, individuals need to exercise proper cyber-hygiene to prevent the easiest of cyber attacks from being carried out on their devices. I believe that all of these points are well taken, however I think we could build on them in class. For instance, what are the limitations of manufacturer’s self-policing their own actions? Where do their incentives to secure their devices fall short? How much can individuals be expected to implement proper cyber-hygiene? Is the comparison of anti-flu/anti-epidemic behavior applicable? If so, then what can we do to instill this type of behavior in the general population, and will there ever be an anti-antivirus backlash which mirrors the current anti-vaxer movement?
James Stavridis, Dave Weinstein
Foreign Policy
Industry Focus: 
Information & Telecommunication
Internet & Cyberspace
Case Studies