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I/ITSEC 2016: When Toasters Attack!

A quick Cyberwarfare update from I/ITSEC

As if we don’t have enough to worry about concerning cyber warfare and cyber espionage, the emerging IoT (Internet of Things) has opened a Pandora’s Box of new hacker entry points.

With thousands of new devices with Internet Protocol address (IP address) connecting to the Internet every day, each new IP address could act as a potential hacker entry-point (a poorly protected node in the network) or could be used a honeypot (a dummy network node, software application, or computer that acts as a trap to attract hackers). These new devices that provide entry points for hackers could be your connected DVR, your printer, or even your toaster.

The most recent example of an IoT device that allowed hackers to do mischief occurred on Dyn, a New Hampshire-based company that monitors and routes Internet traffic. Dyn was hacked on October 21, 2016 and the Dyn network was assaulted by multiple denial-of-service attacks (DoS attacks). USA Today reported that the attack “began at 7:10 a.m. ET Friday morning. The issue kept some users on the East Coast from accessing Twitter, Spotify, Netflix, Amazon, Tumblr, Reddit, PayPal and other sites.”

Here at I/ITSEC, I had a fascinating conversation with cyber expert and Chief Technology Officer Frank Busalacchi at the Alion pavilion. Alion Science and Technology, headquartered in McLean, Virginia, delivers advanced engineering, IT and operational solutions to strengthen national security and drive business results to enhance readiness and performance in rapidly-changing environments like cyber operations. Cyber experts like Frank are hard at work to understand how to better protect networks from cyber attacks in the new era of IoT.

Key to this process is a means to visualize the cyberspace to “see the unseeable.” With more than a billion IP addresses on the internet and with devices that range from servers to less protected connected-toasters, networks can be hacked today in more ways than ever before and the job of protecting networks becomes more complex.

At I/ITSEC it is clear that the effort to create a persistent cyber training environment to raise the situation awareness of defense personnel and train cyber warriors is moving into high gear. So, don’t let your Internet-connected-toaster take your network down! Learn the latest news about cyber warfare and a vast array of other military technology topics from Military Technology Magazine… and stay tuned for more updates from I/ITSEC 2016.

John Antal



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