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
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
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
Stop Defending Everything
Kevin Kurzawa, Senior Information Security Auditor,  2/12/2020
Small Business Security: 5 Tips on How and Where to Start
Mike Puglia, Chief Strategy Officer at Kaseya,  2/13/2020
Architectural Analysis IDs 78 Specific Risks in Machine-Learning Systems
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  2/13/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
6 Emerging Cyber Threats That Enterprises Face in 2020
This Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at six emerging cyber threats that enterprises could face in 2020. Download your copy today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
The concept of application security is well known, but application security testing and remediation processes remain unbalanced. Most organizations are confident in their approach to AppSec, although others seem to have no approach at all. Read this report to find out more.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-9007
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-16
Codoforum 4.8.8 allows self-XSS via the title of a new topic.
CVE-2020-9012
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-16
A cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the Import People functionality in Gluu Identity Configuration 4.0 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the filename parameter.
CVE-2019-20456
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-16
Goverlan Reach Console before 9.50, Goverlan Reach Server before 3.50, and Goverlan Client Agent before 9.20.50 have an Untrusted Search Path that leads to Command Injection and Local Privilege Escalation via DLL hijacking.
CVE-2020-8996
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-16
AnyShare Cloud 6.0.9 allows authenticated directory traversal to read files, as demonstrated by the interface/downloadwithpath/downloadfile/?filepath=/etc/passwd URI.
CVE-2020-8997
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-16
Abbott FreeStyle Libre 14-day before February 2020 and FreeStyle Libre 2 before February 2020 allow remote attackers to enable write access via a specific NFC unlock command.