Energy IT crowd fret over security of ‘Internet of Things’

A third of IT experts working in the energy sector “lack confidence” in the security of a new smart data trend known as the ‘Internet of Things’. The ‘Internet of […]

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By Vicky Ellis

A third of IT experts working in the energy sector “lack confidence” in the security of a new smart data trend known as the ‘Internet of Things’.

The ‘Internet of Things’ is a new buzzword used for the growing network of ‘smart’ consumer objects in the home and office such as phones and printers meant to make our lives easier.

But a new report has flagged up the hidden risks it holds, especially for industries such as energy and finance.

One third of energy respondents were not confident in the secure configuration of any device on their network, according to the ‘Enterprise of Things’ report from security advisors at TripWire.

Craig Young, security researcher for Tripwire said people “seriously underestimate” how easily attackers can move around inside networks once they gain access.

Image: Thinkstock
People “seriously underestimate” attackers, says Craig Young of TripWire. Image: Thinkstock

Despite the recent spate of cyber attacks against energy firms, a tiny 8% of energy IT professionals were worried about cyber criminals attacking industrial controllers.

On the other hand, 88% were not confident in their “secure configuration”.

It is “far more likely” employees will be infected with malware outside of the workplace, said Young: “Employees routinely use smartphones and tablets on untrusted networks. They download suspicious apps from third party app stores and then connect to the corporate network over cheap home routers with dubious firmware.

“These devices are now used to control and charge IoT devices, which are not designed with security in mind. The risk of cross contamination from home networks can be very serious unless enterprises strictly enforce security controls,” he added.

The firm surveyed more than 600 people who work from home in critical infrastructure industries.