If you’ve ever fished, the concept is relatively simple. You’ll need a fishing rod, spool, weights, a hook, bait and lots of patience. For some, it’s a hobby. For others, it’s a job. Fishing can be done in fresh water and if you’re into adventure, it can be done on frozen water. Pictured below is how I feel about fishing in cold weather on frozen water.
In information technology, it’s a method to steal. How so? We’re going to dig a little deeper into this subject matter so sit back, grab a cold one and enjoy the ride.
Let’s discuss IoT (Internet of Things) Use Cases before we get to the Cisco IoT presentation that Tim Szigeti (Technical Marketing Engineer at Cisco Systems) provided the Tech Field Delegates and I during Cisco Live Europe:
- Smart Home products – Smart thermostats, air conditioners, light bulbs, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant to name a few and each can be controlled remotely from a device with internet access regardless of your location.
- IoT Applications for Agriculture – drones, tools and applications each serve a purpose. Drones can provide an aerial shot of a field for a farmer, tools can be used to check irrigation or the condition of the soil in a farm and applications can be used to detect the specific location of an animal.
- IoT for Retail – So how does a retailer know you’re in their store? They rely on Beacon technology that uses a communication between the store and customer’s smart phone. This enables the retailer to place any goods and services on the customer’s smartphone at the correct moment and in the right place while shopping. This detection can be disabled but most consumers aren’t aware of this.
- Smart Cars – My family and I own three cars, none of which are smart cars. It’s only a matter of time before I cave in but I’m resisting the temptation until I have a need for it. What I must admit to is how envious I am of my friends that own smart cars and some of the features included with them and they include temperature controls, automatic starters, Apple CarPlay and so on. For those asking, I own a 2011 Jeep Wrangler and it suits me just fine. No fancy gadgets, starts the old-fashioned way and is one of the best and most reliable vehicles I’ve ever owned. Simply put, it’s a #JeepLife 0||||0
- Wearables – Smart watches, fitness bracelets, GPS belts and watches (some used to track the distance of a golf ball and its position on the course) are just a few examples.
Where does this lead us now? As Tim described, IoT expands the threat vector to launch attacks using smart devices and most if not all of these devices are available at your local retailer. Hackers use techniques to probe IoT devices in hopes of finding a loophole or a method to hack into a smart device.
I recently read an article that described a hacker purchasing an IoT device, configuring it for malicious purposes and then returning it to the store for a complete refund. This is alarming because the cashier that accepted the return, placed the IoT device back on the shelf to resell it did their job but didn’t realize the ramifications. The next customer to purchase this IoT device did so unknowingly of what was to come. Most consumers are not technical and are only concerned with controlling the device from their smart phone but don’t take the proper precautions to ensure it hasn’t been previously configured for the wrong reasons. Meanwhile the hacker is patiently waiting for this device to go online so that he\she can control it remotely without the homeowner having a clue. Can you imagine if someone hacked into your internet based webcam without your permission? Below is a great example that Tim provided.
To summarize, please consider your IoT options carefully and always take the precautions necessary to ensure the device is safe from malicious attackers. Sometimes convenience comes at a risk and the damages caused by them can be financial or in some cases affect your health as Tim described in his presentation. A hacked pacemaker can lead to increased heart rates or even worse death.
The proper precautions while configuring an IoT device should include:
- Confirm the IoT device has not been previously configured. If so, reset the configuration to its defaults immediately
- Secure connectivity
- Patching the IoT device with any available software updates
- Disabling unnecessary services
To learn more about Cisco IoT, please click on the link below to watch the presentation which was recorded live while on-site for Cisco Live Europe 2019:
For more information about Cisco IoT, Tech Field Day and how to become a TFD – please click on the links below:
Please take a moment to subscribe to the YouTube channel which also includes watching the various videos that were posted throughout the day. Kudos to PrimeImage Media for recording the live sessions.
None of this would be possible without the support of Stephen Foskett, Tom Hollingsworth, Ben Gage, Mel Zura and the entire Tech Field Day staff for coordinating a seamless event. Looking back, I can’t thank you all enough for allowing me to participate at #CLEUR, experiencing Barcelona and most importantly getting to meet new #TFD delegates along the way. I now consider each person I’ve met at the various Tech Field Days events like family and I’m a better person for it. Thanks for continuing to believe in me.