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Security researchers have demonstrated the ability to remotely take control of Internet-enabled cars. A fatal Io T disaster will similarly spur our government into action, and it's unlikely to be well-considered and thoughtful action.
They've demonstrated ransomware against home thermostats and exposed vulnerabilities in implanted medical devices. In one recent paper, researchers showed how a vulnerability in smart light bulbs could be used to start a chain reaction, resulting in them all being controlled by the attackers — that's every one in a city. Our choice isn't between government involvement and no government involvement.
The government could impose minimum security standards on Io T manufacturers, forcing them to make their devices secure even though their customers don't care.
They could impose liabilities on manufacturers, allowing companies like Dyn to sue them if their devices are used in DDo S attacks.
We need to proactively discuss good regulatory solutions; otherwise, a disaster will impose bad ones on us.
The teams building these devices don't have the security expertise we've come to expect from the major computer and smartphone manufacturers, simply because the market won't stand for the additional costs that would require.
We don't know who perpetrated that attack, but it could have easily been a lone hacker.
Whoever it was launched a distributed denial-of-service attack against Dyn by exploiting a vulnerability in large numbers — possibly millions — of Internet-of-Things devices like webcams and digital video recorders, then recruiting them all into a single botnet.
The botnet bombarded Dyn with traffic, so much that it went down. Your security on the Internet depends on the security of millions of Internet-enabled devices, designed and sold by companies you've never heard of to consumers who don't care about your security.
The technical reason these devices are insecure is complicated, but there is a market failure at work.