How many Internet-connected things are there?
If you guessed one for every person on the planet, you wouldn’t be that far off. As of 2016, there are 6.4 billion Internet-connected devices. From cars to watches to refrigerators, real life and online are becoming indistinguishable, and everything is moving towards connectivity.
The rise of Internet-connected things comes at a cost: In 2015 alone, Symantec discovered more than 430 million new unique pieces of malware, up 36 percent from the year before. This has ushered in a different kind of IoT: The insecurity of things.
- From insulin pumps to implantable defibrillators, researchers have found dozens of potentially deadly vulnerabilities in dozens of medical devices.
- Symantec researchers have found hundreds of millions of smart TVs to be vulnerable to attacks such as click fraud, botnets, data theft and ransomware.
- Fiat Chrysler recalled 1.4 million vehicles after researchers demonstrated how cybercriminals could potentially take control of vehicles remotely. On a global basis, thieves across every continent have learned to hack keyless entry systems to steal cars.
The increasing scale and complexity of cyber attacks is compounding the insecurity of things:
- In 2015, nine mega-breaches were reported. A mega-breach is an incident where more than 10 million records is exposed. The largest mega-breach exposed 191 million records. Perhaps more disturbing is an 85 per cent increase in the number of companies that experienced breaches, but chose not to reveal the number of files exposed. When the number of unreported breaches is taken into account, Symantec estimates the number of lost of exposed records exceeds more than half a billion.
- Most people mistakenly believe that by only visiting reputable, well-known websites that they will be protected against cyber attacks. Over 75% of all legitimate sites have some unpatched vulnerability. Of those, 15% are deemed “critical,” meaning that the effort required for cybercriminals to gain access to, and manipulate, these websites is minimal and non-prohibitive.
The pervasiveness of Internet insecurity and cybercriminality is disturbing. Neither companies nor consumers are safe. Even governments can fall victim to attacks, as has been demonstrated on a global scale with the recent WikiLeaks scandals.
The Insecurity of Things is Likely to Increase
By 2020, Gartner predicts that there will be 20.8 billion Internet-connected things, an amount that far outstrips the number of people that use them. And if history is any indication, cybercrime will continue to grow right alongside the Internet of things and our use of Internet-connected devices.
If you’re wondering whether your company is protected against the threat of malware and cybercrime, the time to act is now. Get in touch with Symantec today for more information,