These days it is not unheard of for something as simple as a printer to have all sorts of bells and whistles. You can find wireless, remote file access, remote (web) printing and more. These devices also have very advanced controls that are often accessible through a web interface. All of this technology can be had for very little money making advanced printers a common thing in the market. The downside? Well there is also very little security in these products. Walking through a business the other day with my WiFi sniffer on I found multiple, unprotected wireless networks screaming at me to join. Without exception these were all printers connected to the company’s network. All easy prey if I was up to no good.
In the fast paced and insanely stupid argument between privacy advocates and national security advocates we often hear how we need to give up one or the other. The security guys say that privacy will block criminal activity so we need to give up some of that. On the other side the Privacy gang feels that giving up privacy is only hurting the people that are not doing anything wrong. They also feel it has an impact on free speech and limits discourse. What neither side is getting is that they both are right. Strong privacy protections and encryption allow for better and more secure communication. The complement each other in a way that no one seems to get.
When things are not quite right you always hope for that “ah-ha” moment when everyone realizes the issue and will actually begin to work on a solution. For connected devices we have been hoping for that since they were first introduced and are still waiting for the industry to have that moment. We thought that perhaps it would happen when a host of connected cameras were compromised allowing people to spy on and even talk to children that were being monitored by them. However, while the hole was covered up with tape (not really fixed) there was no general outcry to have these connected devices secure properly.
This is not the first time that I have spoken out about cloud computing (internet based, or the Internet of Things and the way they are impacting the ability to secure a network. It is also not going to be the last. Simply put, the concept that everything needs to be controlled by a computer and talk back to some sort of internet based cloud show a level of ignorance that should not still be out there. Sadly it is and companies are still trying to push the cloud and connected device mentality despite the inherent and known security flaws that exist.
The one common thing that I keep hearing everyone talk about at Black Hat and even DEF CON is how to protect your data. It is pretty much a given that if someone wants to get into your network they are going to get in. The number of flaws, vulnerabilities and compromises that are out there are simply too many to protect against. So there needs to be some other method to make sure that any sensitive data that you have is keep out of the hands of the “bad guys”. There are many suggestions about this, but most of them still try to do the same things stop the barbarians at the gate.
This morning as I was cursing through the internet news sites I noticed a trend. I saw multiple articles about the state of security all of them claiming that the bad guys a winning or lamenting about the increase in cyber-attacks. Both of these themes are very true, we are seeing an increase in the number of attacks per day (in 2012 it was roughly 1 per day) and the “bad guys” seem to be able to penetrate security with ease. So if this is the case, why do we see more and more efforts to move data and services into the cloud?