As smart hubs and Internet of Things (IoT) centres are becoming more mainstream, so have cyber threats that arise out from the benefits of increased efficiency and convenience. Gearing towards a Smart Nation, Singapore has since rolled out a few initiatives, such as the Jurong Lake District project, a developing commercial and regional hub that aims to create and commercialise innovative virtual urban solutions in a real-life environment, which includes leveraging smart phones as sensors or to track automation.
In 2016, the Mirai botnet as well as the Dyn attack crippled popular websites such as Twitter and Spotify, bringing a spotlight to how vulnerable IoT devices were. Similarly, Singapore awoke to news of Starhub DDoS attacksthat showcased the susceptibility of IoT devices, that called for users to practice good cyber hygiene to avoid similar disruptions from happening again.
Apart from smart devices facing increasing risks of being targeted, industrial IoT systems also face similar situations – especially systems like SCADA, the backbone for critical manufacturing infrastructure. IIoT targeted attacks impact not just on the loss of data in a virtual sense, but may also result in physical disruptions such as power outages or disrupted critical public service. For example, the Ukraine power station was struck by a series of widespread and coordinated cyber-attacks that oversaw its citizens without electrical power, just 12 months after a similar hacking incident that led to power cut that had affected 225,000 Ukrainians.
Singapore is one of the top 5 countries with high IoT penetration, with an estimated of 6.6 units per citizen, coming in fourth while South Korea tops the list, as reported by IDC. In this love-hate relationship of possessing IoT devices, it is crucial that one builds awareness around current and upcoming threats to avoid being targeted by cybercriminals. To ensure that our smart city is safe, we need to keep ourselves – the inhabitants of this smart metropolis; safe just as well.
For more information on growth of IoT threats in 2017, you can read them in the following blog post “Will 2017 be the Year IoT Threats Go Mainstream?”.