We have often talked about the enormous potential of the Internet of things: digitized processes mean less errors, more efficiency, the possibility of working remotely and instant communications. However, there is a dark side to the Internet of things that concerns its risks. Because relying on digital and connecting very different tools to each other also means exposing yourself to potential dangers that can cause unwanted dissemination of personal data, tampering of systems and even million dollar scams.
An exemplar, in this regard, experiment was carried out by two hackers, who to demonstrate the security flaws of the Jeep Cherokee took remote possession of one of the vehicles while a journalist, an accomplice, was driving that car. All of this happened because of a bug in the software that connected the car to the driver's device. «What many people don’t understand – Nicola Bosello, president of Securbee, one of the major Information Security companies, explains – is that the dangers of IOT concerns companies and private citizens alike». That nineties image of the geeks trying to breach computer systems, however, is outdated. And Bosello himself reiterates: «We don’t think that there are always people behind hackers. At this point, we are talking about automated systems created to attack other private systems». But what’s the objective? Above all to obtain personal data and to resell them. Or tamper with the systems for a few hours, which means financial damages of thousands of euros.
The goal of hackers is to get personal information and resell it
From this perspective, however, in Italy we are still not sufficiently aware of the extent of the risks. «Ours is a peculiar context – Bosello admits – as it largely consists of small and medium-sized enterprises, which have a lower knowledge of the dangers». And it’s not just a matter of budget available, because, as the Securbee president assures, security platforms are now available for even the smallest players.
The first step, however, is always training. «Culture is the best self-defense: both companies and citizens must be aware of the risks of the digital world. We then offer artificial intelligence services that collect data on machine operations and detect any anomalies even before they have done damage. In some cases, these systems also destroy the dangers themselves».
There is, moreover, an area that also concerns individual citizens, not just companies. In this case, the dangers are in everyday life: when you get into your car, when you install a device at home – even a household appliance – which is connected to the network, when you access a public wifi. We need to be careful. «The first piece of advice – Bosello says – is to read, to inquire. Too often we blindly sign in with security conditions of which we know nothing. And then there’s the topic of passwords: it is unrealistic to think that a device cannot be within the reach of others. If they ask us for a password it’s because someone is interested or has the possibility to enter it». Constant vigilance, then. And different passwords for each access.