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Lighting industry needs to ‘wake up’ to IoT hack threat

12th January 2017

The UK’s leading ethical hacker has warned that the lighting industry needs to ‘wake up’ when it comes to Internet of Things (IoT) security, or risk the technology being turned into a Trojan Horse for hackers.


‘Lighting venders need to wake up and realise that what they are doing could be very insecure,’ Ken Munro, the UK’s leading ethical hacker told Lux in an interview that you can view below.


IoT is viewed by many as being the lighting industry’s saviour as revenues from luminaires start to decline. However, as companies rush to get IoT products to market, Munro fears that cyber security is being rushed for the sake of making a quick buck.


‘We’re opening Pandora’s Box, we are starting to see huge amounts of IoT devices being developed that are vulnerable and I don’t think it will be too long before we see another big story about IoT devices being hacked. We are turning the internet against us,’ Munro continued. 


In October last year hackers hijacked thousands of IoT devices, including smart lights, in a denial of service attack that crashed some of the world’s biggest websites including Spotify, PayPal and Twitter. This was just one of a number of high profile hacks that was seen in 2016.


The security expert advised that lighting manufactures should ensure that the mobile application that controls an IoT lighting product is written securely.


‘Don’t forget that when you are making an IoT product, you are selling it to consumers and to hackers. A hacker will take apart your device, look at your chip set and try to extract the firmware, which is the software that runs on the chips. If that is not written securely the product can be easily hijacked,’ Munro told Lux.


IoT is expected to grow significantly over the next decade. A survey carried out by Accenture, the global professional services firm, found that thirteen percent of consumers currently own an IoT device, by 2019, this expected to rise to 70 percent.


The LED revolution has concluded, prices are falling and the industry's attention is turning to the digital world, to the internet of things and smart cities.


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