10 Nightmare Scenarios From the Internet of Things

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Authors Note: 10 Nightmare Scenarios From the Internet of Things

Aside from malfunction-spawned mishaps, many of the nightmare scenarios of the Internet of Things arise from the same old sources: hacking, crime and terrorism. By more closely connecting the world -- and by automating and making intelligent versions of mechanisms we once controlled and monitored -- we grant both good and bad actors greater reach and power, and we put our trust in systems that can go wrong faster than we can react to crises.

Of course, designers and engineers will know to test for, and harden against, many if not most of these vulnerabilities. But, as history has shown, we have yet to master the art of protecting systems, in part because some level of openness is usually required for them to function, and in part because hackers are adept at finding indirect ways of attacking them.

Already, search engines like Shodan enable users to browse unsecured systems from baby monitors to traffic lights to medical devices. And while it can take months or years to identify, analyze and plug such security holes (or make them illegal), it takes only minutes to inflict substantial harm.

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