'˜Internet of Things' a risk to us all, warns expert

A leading cyber security expert has warned about the growing risks of connecting everyday household gadgets to the internet.

Thursday, 9th March 2017, 6:02 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd March 2017, 4:43 pm
"The Cayla doll should be considered a computer"

Robert O’Brien, CEO of MetaCompliance, a global Information security and compliance software company, says a lack of regulation in the surge of the Internet of Things is posing a serious risk to the general public.

“In the race to develop smart devices for mass consumption, it appears that there was little thought given to security. The rise of the Internet of Things has in turn given rise to an increased cyber threat to our homes.”

The Internet of Things (or IoT) is about connecting a growing number of everyday devices over the internet, items that can talk to us, applications and each other.

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Mr O’Brien made the comments following claims that the US intelligence community has been using the IoT to hack a number of well-known and everyday products including Smart TVs, cars and mobile devices.

He added: “The truth be told, when it came to whole internet of things nobody really thought about security. Thankfully that is beginning to change as more and more people become educated to the risks.”

He said last month’s call in Germany for parents to destroy ‘My Friend Cayla’ dolls further illustrates safety concerns over the IoT.

Researchers said the bluetooth device embedded in the toy could be employed by hackers to listen and talk to children while they play with it.

Mr O’Brien said: "There is no doubt that this doll represents a risk to children and there are many other devices which pose a risk. When it comes to children and online cyber threats, a zero tolerance approach is the only response.”

“The Cayla doll should be considered a computer. Would you let someone access your kid’s computer? From a security point of view there is only one tip I would offer on this and that is to put it in the bin. I would advise not letting children use these types of devices at all.”