The world now is heavily dependent on wireless devices for most of its efficient functioning. This technological advances have their fair share of misfortunes when compared to their benefits. On that is most threating is their vulnerability to exploitation. Almost any wireless device can be hacked in this time. Internet of Things (IoT) devices have a surface that is vulnerable to attack considering they are directly connected to the internet that can be accessed by anyone all around the world. They are just computers that can be hacked like any other traditional computer. Many of these attacks originate from the challenges that are present in IoT devices like less storage space and processing power. There have been many global cases witnessed where such attacks have stopped the normal running of great organisations and parts of government. Hacking wireless devices can have a negative impact through service disruption, theft of data, loss on money and decrease in vendor trust and reputation. Hacking an IoT device can be achieved through numerous approaches which capitalise on the weaknesses of IoT devices. Securing IoT devices is solely the responsibility of its users, vendors and developers. In the same light, there have been advances to develop an ‘IoT Trust Framework’. This is for the benefit of vendors to safeguard their IoT products against cases of attacks.
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The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of physical objects like buildings, devices and vehicles with electronics, sensors and other software encompassed in their structure. The use of IoT all around the world grows with respect to the human population dependence on it. With such a fast growing capacity, IoT is in constant threat of attacks from cyber-attacks especially with a vulnerable IoT surface. Hacking an actual IoT device is possible. There have been numerous cases where the world has witnessed security cases. For instance, there was the Russian hijackers who hijacked a satellite to steal data, hospitals in California and Indiana who have suffered ransomware, a nuclear power plant in Germany was shut down due to malware function and Ukraine also suffered a power plant hack among many other cases that may not have been on the global scene but still caused detrimental effect.
IoT devices are prone to attack due to some challenges like difficulty in applying security patches, faulty firmware upgradations and less resources in terms of storage space, processing power and memory (G.G, 2011). Hacking an IoT device is reliant on capitalising in its vulnerabilities. Hacking of an IoT device can be achieved through; reverse-engineering firmware, exploiting universal plug-and-play, mass vulnerability probing and intercepting cellular network.
Any of these approaches can be used to hack an IoT device (Vlack, 2017). The most common approaches used by hackers is intercepting cellular networks and reverse-engineering hardware. These cases of hacking can be averted by initiatives from vendors, users and developers. The ‘IoT Trust Framework’ (Stanislav & Beardsley, 2015) is crucial in preventing cases of hacking.
- G.G, V. (2011). Hacking Internet of Things (IoT)- A Case Study on DTH Vulnerabilities. Bangalore: SecPod.
- Stanislav, M., & Beardsley, T. (2015). Hacking lot: A case study on Baby Monitor Exposures and Vulnerabilities. Rapid7.
- Vlack, M. V. (2017). 4 Ways Cyber Attackers May be Hacking Your IoT Devices Right Now. Hologram.