“Connected” products—not just traditional IT products—are increasingly subject to cyber attacks globally. The question companies are (and should be) asking is no longer whether there will be an attack involving Internet of Things devices and infrastructure, but when. Join us on May 24 for the third installment of our 2017 IoT webinar series and get practical guidance from our international team of cybersecurity lawyers, who will present key elements of Hogan Lovells’ well-received client workshop on this rapidly evolving topic.
Some of the largest cyber attacks in recent memory have employed an army of connected home devices to achieve their goals. This co-opting of connected home devices owned by consumers around the world occurs without those consumers’ knowledge or consent. For example, in mid-September, several thousand devices—home routers, Internet-connected video cameras, and digital video recorders—were used to create a “botnet” that collectively pounded the security researcher Brian Krebs’ website with 620 gigabits of data per second. At the time, the attack was thought to be the largest in history. An even larger army was assembled a few days later for an attack on the French hosting provider OVH that peaked at over one terabit of traffic per second. These distributed denial-of-service attacks were successful because they exploited basic security vulnerabilities in connected home devices, such as default passwords used to access administrator settings.
This week, the Online Trust Alliance turned its attention from manufacturers to consumers by releasing a checklist of basic steps that consumers can take to improve the privacy and security “hygiene” of their connected home and wearable devices. Just as smoke detectors require periodic battery changes, the OTA warns that IoT devices also benefit from regular checkups.
A number of data protection authorities around the globe have issued press releases confirming their involvement in the 2016 global privacy “sweep”, which kicked off on April 11th. This year’s initiative involves a coordinated investigation by 29 DPAs into the practices of internet-connected devices, such as fitness and health trackers, thermostats, smart meters and TVs and connected cars. The work is being coordinated by the Global Privacy Enforcement Network under the leadership of the UK Information Commissioner’s Office.
Fifteen months after forming an Internet of Things working group, on March 2, 2016, the Online Trust Alliance released a final version of its IoT Framework along with a companion Resource Guide that provides explanations and additional resources. The voluntary Framework sets forth thirty suggested guidelines that provide criteria for designing privacy, security, and sustainability into connected devices. The creation of the OTA IoT principles represents a potential starting point for achieving privacy- and security-protective innovation for IoT devices.