Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT

IoT Physical Attack Exploit to be Revealed at Black Hat

Security researcher Billy Rios plans to demonstrate how an exploit can cause an IoT device to launch a physical attack against a human.

IoT devices are increasingly becoming ubiquitous, raising the stakes of physical harm to humans if exploits make these connected devices go rogue. One of the first examples of such an IoT exploit that will do just that is slated to be presented by renowned researcher Billy Rios later this month at Black Hat USA in Las Vegas.

Rios, founder of WhiteScope, in his Black Hat talk When IoT Attacks: Understanding the Safety Risks Associated with Connected Devices will demontrate an exploit he wrote that prompts an IoT device to intentionally strike a person. "We are in the early stages of IoT, but in 15 years robotics will be in our homes and workplace and we want to show the road we are headed on," Rios says.

His exploit employs zero-day vulnerabilities that he discovered in an IoT device, the details of which Rios declined to divulge prior to his presentation. The vendor of the IoT product has not yet patched the flaws, which involve authentication bypass and the ability to disable or bypass safety mechanisms.

 

An IoT physical attack could involve a connected device that strikes an individual in a public place, for example, he says.

"A robotic arm in a factory can hit you, but people don't take that seriously because they think that they are only used in manufacturing," Rios explains. "The attacks I will be discussing are devices that are used in public places and can hit or strike you."

While the number of exploitable connected devices is high, the number of connected devices that can be exploited to physically injure someone is surprisingly small. "I think drones and self-driving cars fit into this category," Rios says.

In the future, however, he anticipates more IoT physical risks, especially as a result of the growth in robotics.

"We have already shown we can hurt people by accident with IoT," Rios says, pointing to recent accidents in self-driving cars. 

Core IoT Problems

Although IoT devices have the potential to physically inflict harm on humans if they are exploited by nefarious actors, the industry is currently unregulated, compared to the transportation and healthcare industries, Rios says.

He added one of the goals of his presentation is to get people talking about a cybersecurity safety law and also the need to activate a scoring system for IoT safety risks, similar to that issued for security update patches.

"A vulnerability that compromises a TV and a vulnerability that compromises a car are currently scored the same way," Rios says. "But where this falls down is when you have a device that can actually hurt you. You want to differentiate between an issue that can physically hurt you and one that doesn't."

Related Content:

Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
7/8/2017 | 8:40:58 AM
Hurtables
Related: Attacks against connected pacemakers (as seen in Homeland; indeed, it was for this reason that VP Dick Cheney's pacemaker connectivity was disabled).

Nearly four years ago, cybersecurity firm predicted the first IoT-enabled murder to be committed by the end of 2013. I don't think they were correct, but the day is perhaps coming.

I wrote a piece about "murderables" and other cybercrime-as-a-service possibilities at the time, here: newipagency.com/author.asp?section_id=325&doc_id=711779
Data Privacy Protections for the Most Vulnerable -- Children
Dimitri Sirota, Founder & CEO of BigID,  10/17/2019
Sodinokibi Ransomware: Where Attackers' Money Goes
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  10/15/2019
7 SMB Security Tips That Will Keep Your Company Safe
Steve Zurier, Contributing Writer,  10/11/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: The old using of sock puppets for Shoulder Surfing technique. 
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
2019 Online Malware and Threats
2019 Online Malware and Threats
As cyberattacks become more frequent and more sophisticated, enterprise security teams are under unprecedented pressure to respond. Is your organization ready?
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-8071
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-17
Adobe Download Manager versions 2.0.0.363 have an insecure file permissions vulnerability. Successful exploitation could lead to privilege escalation.
CVE-2019-10752
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-17
Sequelize, all versions prior to version 4.44.3 and 5.15.1, is vulnerable to SQL Injection due to sequelize.json() helper function not escaping values properly when formatting sub paths for JSON queries for MySQL, MariaDB and SQLite.
CVE-2019-12611
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-17
An issue was discovered in Bitdefender BOX firmware versions before 2.1.37.37-34 that affects the general reliability of the product. Specially crafted packets sent to the miniupnpd implementation in result in the device allocating memory without freeing it later. This behavior can cause the miniupn...
CVE-2019-13657
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-17
CA Performance Management 3.5.x, 3.6.x before 3.6.9, and 3.7.x before 3.7.4 have a default credential vulnerability that can allow a remote attacker to execute arbitrary commands and compromise system security.
CVE-2019-15626
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-17
The Deep Security Manager application (Versions 10.0, 11.0 and 12.0), when configured in a certain way, may transmit initial LDAP communication in clear text. This may result in confidentiality impact but does not impact integrity or availability.