With this little homage to the movie “Jaws,” it appears hackers have taken their trade in a whole new direction, hacking networks through fish tank thermometers. At least those that are connected to the web as an Internet of Things (IoT) device.
According to an article in Hacker News, that is exactly what happened to a large, unnamed casino. It appears the hackers were able to access the thermostat remotely and once they did were able to move upstream (pun intended) on the network and access files containing the details of the casino’s high-roller gamblers. Then they pulled the information back through the thermostat link and onto their computers. It is uncertain at this time if Nemo was in any way part of the plot (another weak pun).
While funny on the surface, the IoT has created real security risks for companies, governments, organizations, and individuals as the casino learned the hard way. Anything that is connected to the internet has the potential of being used to breach the security of the network. And things like fish tank thermometers, toasters, refrigerators, light bulbs, speakers, and Alexa-type devices are popping up everywhere.
The problem is that most of these devices are not designed with security in mind. The manufacturers are not thinking about network security. They are more interested in making the device work easily for users. And even if they are thinking of security, they may elect not to implement necessary measures as doing so adds costs that might make their product uncompetitive.
The issue for individuals is what to do to protect their home networks and information and that is very hard when IoT devices are present. Keeping all your software up to date is the best place to start. This includes operating systems, software packages, and mobile apps. Having a good firewall helps and protecting sensitive data with encryption, strong passwords, two-factor identification, or all the above can go a long way to keeping your information safe in the event of a hack.
Oh, and if you have an aquarium with an IoT connected thermostat, you might want to interrogate the fish to be sure no one has a plan to help the hackers.
And don't forget, the danger could come from the sky, too.
When it comes to your mobile communications and internet communications using mobile devices, trust CRIP.TO to give you the freedom to communicate fearlessly. Our Shield and Black duo will make sure your identity, privacy, and data are secure against decryption even if Nemo helps the hackers intercept it through the thermostat.