Homeland Security Network Blog
The information source for first responders.
Countering the Internet of Terrorism
by Co-Authored by Col. Patrick M. Duggan Commander, Joint Base Myer-Hender son Hall
Should you be scared of your new thermostat? Maybe, if it is WIFI-enabled and you haven’t secured it.
Why? The next generation of terrorism is here, and it will use your connected devices – thermostats, fridges, lights, elevators, industrial controls, cars – even toys. These smart devices represent the latest pathways for tech-savvy terrorists to wreak chaos. But before unplugging everything you own to live off the grid, take heart in the fact, at least at the national level, we still have time to prepare.
While traditional DoD counter-terrorism (CT) efforts have mainly emphasized direct action, future U.S. security measures must also adapt to harness the Internet of Things (IoT). Simply put, the IoT’s inexorable growth portends new methods for destruction but also provides new mechanisms for defense.
These same IoT devices are as capable for U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) hunting terrorists as they are to the enemies who use them. This phenomena of unconventional cyberwarfare will become increasingly critical to defending the nation and heralds the birth of a new form of CT: countering the Internet of Terrorism (IoT).
The concept of “edge computing” is breeding entirely new ecosystems – and terrorist threats. Edge computing is a critical driving force behind IoT’s ever-expanding adaption to new fields of computer application. Instead of a centralized hub to process data or information, edge computing enables virtually anything with a mini-processor to use its own “smarts” to respond at the very source of the data. This capability means that end-user client devices can carry out a multitude of nefarious activities independently or as part of a more coordinated “foggy network.”
According to leading reports, by 2025 a huge percentage of the devices we use regularly in our daily life will be connected; and our wearables, ingestibles, sensors, transportation systems and devices will all become a node on constantly emitting and transmitting networks. Not only will this explosion of technology drive privacy issues and self-determined freedom over our individual lives, but it can kill us as well.