Does M2M represent the next big internet security threat?
The risk of viruses on PCs and laptops are understood by most, and such threats are, by and large, protected against by some very sophisticated software approaches. The threat to mobile devices is also now being taken seriously. But what about M2M modules? The word on the street is that during the Queen’s London Jubilee celebrations a hacker sent continuous messages to the M2M-enabled security cameras covering the event (known as pinging). This might have meant that on the day when security could not be more important, key security infrastructure was rendered useless. Thankfully security on that day was not put to the test.
However, it raises an important point. M2M modules are going into power stations, meters, vehicles - just about every kind of object imaginable, and it only takes one security breach to result in, well, who knows what? There is little evidence to date to suggest that M2M is being actively targeted by the hacker community, but as the service offering becomes more sophisticated and as more intelligence resides at the module level, the threat level will inevitably rise - and it looks like we may have had our first “attack”.
Of course M2M providers are not resting on their laurels. For top-tier M2M service providers and specialists, encryption is becoming an integral part of the M2M roll out, programming interfaces are protected by security software, and there is more and more talk of how security in the M2M environment is best addressed.
Older roll-outs, though, could still be vulnerable and hackers can be remarkably persistent and are likely to be looking for chinks in the armour. As with any area of internet security, it’s a question of remaining one step ahead, because more intelligence and sophistication inevitably correlates to increased vulnerability and risk.