We officially live in a world where hacking is a legitimate and constant threat in our daily lives. Web attacks have become so prevalent that it has recently spawned off a host of mainstream TV shows about hacking, which goes to show the magnitude and sheer rampant nature of cyber attacks.
Essentially, any internet connected device that we run across or interact with on a frequent basis can and will be hacked — we just don’t know it yet. These sure are scary times we live in nowadays, so let’s cut to the chase and present the 7 scariest things that can get hacked in our everyday lives that you had no idea was possible.
This past summer, Wired featured an extremely intriguing, albeit scary, video regarding their experience being behind the wheel of a remotely hacked Jeep Cherokee. It was a fascinating to see two hackers located ten miles away from the car completely take over all control of the vehicle with the click of their MacBooks. The hijackers, who were friends of the test driver, were able to control the air conditioning, radio, steering wheel, and most scary of all, the brakes for the Jeep. This was all done possible by cars simply wanting to become “smartcars” by integrating WiFi and internet connectivity to their car dashboards and navigation systems. This leaves cars vulnerable to hacking virtually anywhere seemingly at the touch of a mouse. To stop the madness, the test driver actually drove the car into a ditch to stop it from moving completely.
2. Baby Monitors
The recent surge of internet connected devices in the Internet of Things (IoT) has opened Pandora’s box of security vulnerabilities that hackers can easily exploit. One particular vulnerable device that stirred a lot of controversy this year were hackable baby monitors. According to BBC, even the most rudimentary hacking attacks can gain access to baby monitors. This type of cyber attack allows intruders to spy on the surveillance technology integrated within baby monitors and lets them stream live video to a remote computer or mobile application. This has led to consumers worrying about their privacy and also defeats the purpose of having baby monitors if anyone can essentially watch what their children do.
Back in early 2015, there were reports from the UK that stated a popular line of toy dolls being hacked. My Friend Cayla is an internet connected doll that is able to communicate with kids through speech recognition and Google Translate technology. However, as with all internet connected devices, the doll was maliciously hacked and reprogrammed to spout out mean and nasty responses. The company soon followed with a security patch upgrade as fears that the doll could begin responding with bad words grew throughout its customer base.
4. Medical Devices
Hackers were able to successful kill a medical mannequin by the name of iStan by wirelessly hacking into its electronic pacemaker. iStan was a medical mannequin developed by the University of South Alabama to similar human cardiovascular, respiratory and neurological systems. Research hackers were able to destroy iStan through repeated Denial of Service (DoS) attacks to the wirelessly connected medical device. Obviously, a medical mannequin is not the same as a real human being; however, this really opened a lot of eyes in the medical industry and exposed the well documented secret that medical devices are extremely vulnerable to attacks.
5. Security Cameras
Recently, there was major news that CCTV cameras were being used as part of a large botnet to launch massive Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. CCTV cameras can be controlled wirelessly, which also puts them into the IoT category of devices. This leaves the door open for potential hackers to gain unauthorized access and control these cameras, which is exactly what happened. Hackers successful installed malware on roughly 900 CCTV cameras to serve as a botnet to attack a popular cloud service that caters to millions of users. This proves that almost anything and everything connected to the internet can be accessed if hackers are motivated enough.
6. Prison Doors
This one is truly scary. A few years ago, a maximum security prison in Florida reported that their prison cell doors would automatically open simultaneously, freeing the prison inmates temporarily. This led to rampant speculation of hackers being the ones remotely controlling prison doors since all prison cells are now wireless controlled through a computer. In this particular case, the prison inmates seemed to know the exact time the doors would unlock and they were ready to attack rival gangs or other prison inmates with weapons. Multiple security researchers have stated that prisons are some of the most vulnerable facilities in the world since they can be susceptible to suspicious insider or outsider cyber threats.
7. Your Brain
The last everyday item on the list isn’t really an “item” per se, but we do use it every day. Now, before we jump to conclusions, this is the one “item” on the list that isn’t susceptible to malicious intents or attacks by outside intruders. Biohacking or hacking our own bodies has become hugely popular in recent years. In this particular instance, scientists have successfully “hacked” a brain by shocking it with electricity in order to boost memory, focus, and energy. This can have a significant breakthrough in the medical world as this has shown promise to stave off cognitive decline and depression.
As you can see, hacking has become an integral part of our lives. Even everyday items that we never would suspect being hacked can be accessed by unknown intruders. It’s really up to us to be more vigilant in cyber security and make the internet a more trusted online society.