Thousands of IoT products recalled in wake of cyber attacks, bringing ramifications for designers

Published 26 October 2016

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: iot, legal

Chinese manufacturer Hangzhou Xiongmai Technology Co Up has recalled nearly 10,000 webcams in the aftermath of a cyber attack that blocked access last week to some of the world’s biggest websites.

Devices such as the CCTV cameras were compromised by hackers and used to perform a denial-of-service (DoS) attack on internet infrastructure provider Dyn, which cut access to websites including PayPal, Spotify and Twitter.

Such attacks harness hundreds of thousands of connected devices globally to flood the targeted servers, forcing them to crash.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) told Reuters that it had discussed the attacks with 18 major communications service providers and was working to develop a new set of “strategic principles” for securing internet-connected devices.

With retailers rushing to connect devices - from cars to toasters - to the Internet of Things, there are set to be more examples of previously inanimate objects being used in cyber crime.

The most problematic devices tend to be products early in the release cycle, or those built on the cheap, with cost cutting often negating the need for proper testing, firmware updates and other security processes as a product is rushed to market.

The circumstances mean that manufacturers could be held to account in the future, possibly putting designers at risk if choosing a faulty component - putting increased pressures on component selection and testing.

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