Skip to main content

Kaspersky Founder: IoT Stands For 'Internet Of Threats'

In a recent interview on NBC News, the founder of the Kaspersky anti-virus company, Eugene Kaspersky, said that in the future there won't be just PCs or smartphones getting hacked, but everything that's called "smart."

That includes smart fridges, smart coffee machines, smart cars, smart TVs, smart homes, and so on. "You are watching the TV, the TV is watching you," he added. It wasn't too long ago that we discovered LG and Samsung smart TVs could either listen to your conversations or track you in other ways.

Eugene Kaspersky even went on to say that "IoT," which normally stands for the "Internet of Things," should really be called the "Internet of Threats," because IoT devices are going to vastly expand the ways in which hackers can get to you and your information.

We've seen chip companies such as ARM, Imagination and Freescale try to tackle IoT security by securely isolating critical data at the hardware level, where most attacks could be stopped dead in their tracks.

Google and ARM have also been working on their own simpler and more secure operating systems for IoT devices. The two companies have been working on Thread as well, which is a mesh networking protocol that's supposed to keep most IoT devices off the Internet so they can't be exposed directly to hackers.

Even all of the above will likely not be enough to keep IoT devices very secure. It will ultimately be up to the OEMs making those $50 smart coffee machines to update them on time, whenever a new vulnerability is found for their devices, and to do it for as long as their customers keep using them (which could be 10 years or more, especially in the case of smart TVs or cars).

Having certain types of electronics become smarter does have its own value and advantages, which is why the Internet of Things (or Threats, as it were) seems unavoidable. If the security of these devices becomes a top priority for customers, then those companies selling IoT devices with weak security might eventually be pushed out of the market. This could be harder to achieve in certain markets (such as with coffee machines), while it could be much easier to achieve in markets where "smart things" can kill you if you get hacked (such as the smart car market).

Follow Tom's Hardware on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.