Web cams and other IoT devices remain wildly insecure

September 10, 2020

As IoT devices continue to proliferate, the communications protocols they use puts millions of users’ data in danger of a serious breach. There are two protocols that have proven to be especially vulnerable – CS2 Network P2P and Shenzhen Yunni iLnkP2P – though, of course, many machine-to-machine communications are constantly facing threats and patching security gaps.

These protocols are peer-to-peer systems (hence P2P), and often cannot be switched off. If a user has not changed their password or has not chosen a complex enough password, hackers can easily access the device and the device’s data. In the case of web cams that are installed in devices such as baby monitors or Smart Doorbells, this means that cyber criminals can watch live video streams from all around the world.

P2P protocols allow users to easily set up their IoT devices, by connecting with a central server and sending consistent messages. The servers can then track which IP address the device is using, and further helps it find the best method of connection between the interface a consumer is using to set up and the device (like a camera). This removes the need for users to get into the intricacies of connecting their devices, which they may not know how to do.

Hacking into these systems was made easy by certain features of the protocols. Users don’t have to change passwords, and a device’s unique ID is factory-set and actually impossible to change. It doesn’t take long for hackers to crack a system that effectively has no real protection. And, since the device is usually connected to a home network, it also gives cyber criminals an entry point into that network and the other devices on it.

For iLnkP2P, this issue was patched earlier this year, though it might take some time for that solution to be installed in devices around the world. IoT devices are handy, and their applications will only grow, as will the accompanying cyber threats. Ensuring that a device’s communications are secure will go a long way in protecting consumers and companies from a rapidly expanding threat surface.

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