Will the Internet of Things compromise your security? Probably.
Interoperability is possibly the biggest topic being addressed in the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) space. Lately though, a new issue is coming to light: security. U.S. Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, acknowledged for the first time that agencies might use smart household devices to increase their surveillance capabilities.
“In the future, intelligence services might use the Internet of things for identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking, and targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials,” Clapper testified to the Senate last Tuesday, as part of an assessment of threats facing the United States.
Clapper’s statements are not the first official statements on the surveillance threat of networked home devices to come from a U.S. official. In a 2012 speech, former CIA director, David Petraeus referred to IoT as “transformational… particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft.”
Clapper did not name a specific intelligence agency as being involved in household-device surveillance. However, security experts might assume that the U.S. and other surveillance services will intercept signals the networked devices emit, much like they do with cellphones.
According to The Guardian, February 2015 news reports revealed that microphones on Samsung “smart” televisions were “always on” so as to receive any audio that it could interpret as an instruction.
For many, the biggest risk of connected home devices will not come from intelligence agencies, but from criminals who can use the IoT to eavesdrop, steal personal information and gain access to homes and home networks.
Last Tuesday, the White House revealed its new cyber security mission, pledging to increase security for nontraditional networked home devices. It tasked the Department of Homeland Security with testing and certifying networked devices within the Internet of Things.