Your IoT devices could spy on you, admits US intelligence chief

Big Brother may be watching you from the fridge, US spy chief warns

Security services may target Internet of Things devices like smart TVs in order to spy on people, according to US director of national intelligence, James Clapper.

At a US Senate committee hearing on Tuesday, Clapper acknowledged that agents may take advantage of devices connected to the internet so it can track or spy on people.

Advertisement - Article continues below

He said that smart devices incorporated into the electricity grid, autonomous cars and even household appliances could threaten data privacy.

"In the future, intelligence services might use the IoT for identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking, and targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials," he said.

Clapper did not specify which intelligence agencies might use the IoT to spy on citizens, or if such information would be shared with other government agencies.

Last year, it was demonstrated that an internet-connected Barbie doll could be hacked to spy on children.

Broaching the subject of artificial intelligence, Clapper said that the implications of broader AI included "increased vulnerability to cyber attack, difficulty in ascertaining attribution, facilitation of advances in foreign weapon and intelligence systems, the risk of accidents and related liability issues, and unemployment".

"The increased reliance on AI for autonomous decision-making is creating new vulnerabilities to cyber attacks and influence operations," he added. "As we have already seen, false data and unanticipated algorithm behaviours have caused significant fluctuations in the stock market because of the reliance on automated trading of financial instruments."

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

He admitted there may also be improvements to cybersecurity through AI but such systems would be "susceptible to a range of disruptive and deceptive tactics that might be difficult to anticipate or quickly understand.

"Efforts to mislead or compromise automated systems might create or enable further opportunities to disrupt or damage critical infrastructure or national security networks."

Picture courtesy of Medill DC

Featured Resources

Navigating the new normal: A fast guide to remote working

A smooth transition will support operations for years to come

Download now

Putting a spotlight on cyber security

An examination of the current cyber security landscape

Download now

The economics of infrastructure scalability

Find the most cost-effective and least risky way to scale

Download now

IT operations overload hinders digital transformation

Clearing the path towards a modernised system of agreement

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/security/ransomware/356292/university-of-california-gets-fleeced-by-hackers-for-114-million
ransomware

University of California gets fleeced by hackers for $1.14 million

30 Jun 2020
Visit/security/cyber-security/356289/australia-announces-135b-investment-in-cybersecurity
cyber security

Australia announces $1.35 billion investment in cyber security

30 Jun 2020
Visit/cloud/cloud-security/356288/csa-and-issa-form-cybersecurity-partnership
cloud security

CSA and ISSA form cyber security partnership

30 Jun 2020
Visit/business/policy-legislation/356215/senators-propose-a-bill-aimed-at-ending-warrant-proof-encryption
Policy & legislation

Senators propose a bill aimed at ending warrant-proof encryption

24 Jun 2020

Most Popular

Visit/laptops/29190/how-to-find-ram-speed-size-and-type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

24 Jun 2020
Visit/security/vulnerability/356295/microsoft-patches-high-risk-flaws-that-can-be-exploited-with-a
vulnerability

Microsoft releases urgent patch for high-risk Windows 10 flaws

1 Jul 2020
Visit/policy-legislation/data-protection/356344/eu-institutions-warned-against-purchasing-any-further
data protection

EU institutions told to avoid Microsoft software after licence spat

3 Jul 2020