Recently, I attended RVASec, a cybersecurity conference in Richmond, VA. Mikko Hyponnen of F-Secure was the keynote speaker. He is also the curator for the Malware Museum at the Internet Archive. He focused on where we've been and what's next with technology. He also talked about vulnerabilities and things we need to be aware of in this every-changing world.
Here are seven things I learned from his presentation:
- We've experienced the Internet revolution. Right now, we're experiencing the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution. There are thousands of smart devices out there, and you need to consider security. He said that the next big revolution will be Artificial Intelligence (AI). I'm not sure I'm ready for the rise of the machine just yet.
- The first case of ransomeware happened in 1989. I thought it would be in the late 90s or 2000s. Cybercrimes have been around for a while.
- He reiterated this point several times. DO NOT CLICK on the ENABLE content button on websites. He called this the "please infect by PC" button.
- "Data is the new oil." You will not be able to avoid smart devices. Soon, anything that plugs in will have some kind of smart of computer component. He gave lots of examples like smart mattresses and smart lightbulbs. And these devices are sending data and analytics about your use of them back to the manufacturer.
- Appliances and other smart devices (that we don't think of as computers) will come with software licensing agreements and configuration instructions. Anything that runs on electricity will eventually be connected to the Net.
- Your smart devices (cameras, lightbulbs, thermostats, etc.) are vulnerable. If you take it out of the box and plug it in without reading the instructions and checking the security settings, you could be susceptible to hacks or attacks. (If you can turn a camera on or unlock a door with your phone, so can a hacker.)
- Make sure that you set strong passwords on your devices. Things that are easy to remember are also easy to hack.
I love new technology and gadgets, but I think it's also good to have a healthy awareness of some of the dangers of lax security. What's your favorite smart device?