Hacking is a form of black art. The malicious types of hackers are even referred to as “black hat” vs the “white hat” hackers who look for vulnerabilities for altruistic reasons instead of malicious. Put differently, “black hat” vs “white hat” is a sort of throwback to the old western movies where the bad guys always wore black hats and the good guys wore white/light colored ones.
That is the phrase that comes to mind as we sit here and analyze the events that unfolded at the end of last week. In case you didn’t hear, there was a significant DDoS attack on major DNS provider Dyn. In plain English, someone tried to set the Internet’s phone book on fire. This cyber-attack took down or negatively affected large parts of the Internet all over the world.
That’s a big deal in our ever increasingly connected world and it was all done by exploiting vulnerabilities in IoT(Internet of Things) devices, which is a fancy way of referring to the quickly growing list of gadgets getting connected to the Internet. Manufacturers are rushing to implement these connected strategies for all of their devices with little to no regard to security or the ramifications of flooding the market with unsecured and often times unnecessary gadgets.
Be extremely cautious of any connected device you bring into your home or business, especially ones from little known manufacturers or if the device is inexpensive. We all love cheap gadgets but the old adage that says “You get what you pay for” very much rings true in this category as well.
If this trend continues on the current path, the outages will get much worse and have far bigger consequences. We aren’t far away from large scale hacks of our place of business, our cars and our homes. We must demand better.