Help, I was Betrayed by my Cloud Enabled Smart Fridge!

DING DONG! I heard the doorbell ring calling my attention to my weekly grocery delivery.
Internet enabled grocery shopping has saved me a ton of time and effort simplifying my life. My new cloud connected smart fridge tracks what is used during the week and places an order to ensure everything is restocked.

Life has gotten very convenient with everything connected via the cloud. I open the door to allow the deliveryman to bring the groceries inside and much to my surprise there are several men and a large truck. It seems I had ordered 50 gallons of milk, 10 cases of cereal, 10 cases of crackers, and a lot more.

I looked at the order on the super fridge and found out that my order had indeed been modified. It seems a hacker had breached my refrigerator and decided to have some fun. Who can you call to perform a security investigation on your refrigerator?

Of course this is a fictional situation. I know we have Internet enabled fridges out there now, nothing I have seen with the automated tracking and ordering, but we aren’t far from that capability. How much effort is being put into securing our appliances against security breaches? Are appliance makers aware of the security concerns like my television, coffee pot, or refrigerator being used to perform cyber-attacks?

As more smart devices are created and brought to market we have a growing security concern. We have seen situations where security cameras and video baby monitors can be breached and used by malicious users to spy on people in their own homes. Internet connected smart houses and security systems can be hacked and used to facilitate bad guys while hindering the home owners.

However, breaching our homes and privacy is only one part of the problem. We need to look at what we are connecting to the Internet these days.

We have Internet connected pacemakers, insulin pumps, defibrillators, and other medical devices. Have these vendors ensured that the devices are running hardened encryption and operating systems? Are they giving as much thought to securing these life saving devices against misuse from those who would do harm?

It would be a bad thing to have my refrigerator used against me, but to have my pacemaker or insulin pump used against me could be much worse. The fact that we are now connecting everything to the internet is great, unfortunately there are people out there who will misuse these devices and wreak havoc.

I can see the world is ready and excited about all of this convenience and connectivity, however, are the companies who are connecting these devices preparing them for those connections? We need to ensure the cloud itself is secured, the devices are secured, and the applications are secured.

We also need to make users aware of the potential exposure through the use of these devices. When purchasing these cloud connected smart devices we need to ask the people selling them and making them, are they secure? Will my information and privacy be safe when I use this device? If the consumer doesn’t demand security then the manufacturer will not consider the importance of security and privacy when designing and building these appliances.

What do you think?  What types of security measures need to built into Internet-connected devices?  What dangers could you foresee?  We’d appreciate your comments on this important topic.
The Networking Exchange Blog Team About NEB Team