The recent assassination attempt by a Drone on the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, ended in failure this week, but it highlighted the stark reality that many of us already knew. Namely that in the wrong hands, Drones can be very dangerous weapons.
In the case of this attack, the issue was not hackers taking over the drones. These drones belonged to the perpetrators themselves. However, it does draw into our view the fact that these devices are an extension of what is termed by security experts as “the edge”. This used to mean end point devices like laptops and personal computers that sat at the “edge” of a corporate network, sometimes in their thousands and provided a potentially soft target for hackers and cyber criminals to target.
We now live in the era of the Internet of Things (IoT). Billions of devices, many of them autonomous like driverless vehicles, are all connected to public and private networks. They increase the size and complexity of this “edge” and have brought a whole new challenge to the world of the Cyber Security professionals who try to protect us.
Getting access to a network via a connected device, or planting malicious code into a network via a connected device is more in line with “typical” security operations. However, in recent times, a new type of cyber-crime has emerged, called “cryptojacking”. Originally associated with Bitcoin mining, hackers break into your systems simply to steal your computing resources usually for criminal aims. (e.g. a hacker may set up an illegal gaming site on stolen computing resources in a corporate network)
Let’s now apply this idea of cryptojacking to the world of drones. What if hackers access the systems that control autonomous devices such as Drones? We have seen how dangerous a Drone can be in the wrong hands. A hacked Drone could potentially be even more dangerous. Whether its diverting dangerous loads, or using them as weapons, the stakes of security professionals just got a whole lot higher.
The IoT is growing at a rapid pace. The edge is no longer static. Instead it is mobile, autonomous and device driven. In terms of Cyber Security, the challenge is harder than ever and the risk quite literally can be life or health threatening.
Read more about Securing the IoT with this guide supported by Barracuda