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Application SecurityAttack Types & VectorsBotnetsSecurity

Are Connected Cows a Hacker’s Dream?

April 3, 2019 — by Mike O'Malley0

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Humans aren’t the only ones consumed with connected devices these days. Cows have joined our ranks.

Believe it or not, farmers are increasingly relying on IoT devices to keep their cattle connected. No, not so that they can moo-nitor (see what I did there?) Instagram, but to improve efficiency and productivity. For example, in the case of dairy farms, robots feed, milk and monitor cows’ health, collecting data along the way that help farmers adjust techniques and processes to increase milk production, and thereby profitability.

The implications are massive. As the Financial Times pointed out, “Creating a system where a cow’s birth, life, produce and death are not only controlled but entirely predictable could have a dramatic impact on the efficiency of the dairy industry.”

From Dairy Farm to Data Center

So, how do connected cows factor into cybersecurity? By the simple fact that the IoT devices tasked with milking, feeding and monitoring them are turning dairy farms into data centers – which has major security implications. Because let’s face it, farmers know cows, not cybersecurity.

Indeed, the data collected are stored in data centers and/or a cloud environment, which opens farmers up to potentially costly cyberattacks. Think about it: The average U.S. dairy farm is a $1 million operation, and the average cow produces $4,000 in revenue per year. That’s a lot at stake—roughly $19,000 per week, given the average dairy farm’s herd—if a farm is struck by a ransomware attack.

[You may also like: IoT Expands the Botnet Universe]

It would literally be better for an individual farm to pay a weekly $2,850 ransom to keep the IoT network up. And if hackers were sophisticated enough to launch an industry-wide attack, the dairy industry would be better off paying $46 million per week in ransom rather than lose revenue.

5G Cows

Admittedly, connected cows aren’t new; IoT devices have been assisting farmers for several years now. And it’s a booming business. Per the FT, “Investment in precision ‘agtech’ systems reached $3.2bn globally in 2016 (including $363m in farm management and sensor technology)…and is set to grow further as dairy farms become a test bed for the wider IoT strategy of big technology companies.”

[You may also like: Securing the Customer Experience for 5G and IoT]

But what is new is the rollout of 5G networks, which promise faster speeds, low latency and increased flexibility—seemingly ideal for managing IoT devices. But, as we’ve previously discussed, with new benefits come new risks. As network architectures evolve to support 5G, security vulnerabilities will abound if cybersecurity isn’t prioritized and integrated into a 5G deployment from the get-go.

In the new world of 5G, cyberattacks can become much more potent, as a single hacker can easily multiply into an army through botnet deployment. Indeed, 5G opens the door to a complex world of interconnected devices that hackers will be able to exploit via a single point of access in a cloud application to quickly expand an attack radius to other connected devices and applications. Just imagine the impact of a botnet deployment on the dairy industry.

[You may also like: IoT, 5G Networks and Cybersecurity: A New Atmosphere for Mobile Network Attacks]

I don’t know about you, but I like my milk and cheeses. Here’s to hoping dairy farmers turn to the experts to properly manage their security before the industry is hit with devastating cyberattacks.

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Security

The Evolving Network Security Environment – Can You Protect Your Customers in a 5G Universe?

July 17, 2018 — by Louis Scialabba1

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Smart Farming depends on internet of things (IoT) devices and sensors to monitor vast farm fields, guiding farmers’ decisions about crop management through rich data. But it only takes one security flaw for all stakeholders within the ecosystem to be impacted. If hackers gain access to a single sensor, they can navigate their way to the farm-management application servers and manipulate data. Crop productivity levels are falsified, both basic and complex condition-monitoring systems are distorted, and real-time harm occurs through automatic IoT sensors. At stake is not only the productivity of crops, but the food that supplies livestock and humans: What if there was no corn for you?

Attack Types & VectorsSecurity

The Rise of Smartphone BotNets

May 25, 2016 — by Daniel Smith0

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Smartphone botnets have become increasingly popular over the last few years. Android software is highly vulnerable to malware and is constantly targeted by attackers due to the OS’s popularity around the world. Often times the malware is installed on the device via malicious apps found in the Google play store, 3rd party app stores, malicious emails or drive by downloads while browsing from your device.

DDoSSecurity

Is Your Organization In the Ring of Fire?

March 17, 2016 — by Shira Sagiv0

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Schools are getting more sophisticated; there is no doubt about it. My kids recently had an "emergency study exercise" in grade-school where they needed to log in to the school system from home and participate in an online classroom, listen to a session and answer some questions.  The idea was to see if the school was prepared for emergency situations, where the kids couldn’t attend school for some reason, but they could continue studying remotely.  I thought that was pretty cool. 

I also learned recently about a high school in our area where all the classroom activity is conducted online.  The students have no books, no notebooks – only their laptop. 

Application DeliveryNFVSecurityVirtualization

Mobile World Congress 2016 Recap

March 1, 2016 — by Mike O'Malley5

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After all the meetings have finished, the jamon has been eaten, Rioja has been drunk and all the world’s Mobile Carriers have returned from Barcelona, what have we learned?  And does it fit with what we expected?  As predicted, Mark Zuckerberg chided the industry for focusing too much on IoT connections (who would not open new Facebook accounts), but he also spoke about spending more to connect to people in the developing world (who would open new Facebook accounts).

Application DeliverySecurityVirtualization

What to Expect at MWC 2016

February 18, 2016 — by Mike O'Malley0

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Once again another year has started and the Mobile industry will descend upon Barcelona to discuss the latest trends.  There will be the obligatory talks about over-the-top applications. Tech personalities like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will discuss how all people on the planet need a fast mobile Internet.  The Tier 1 Carriers will all discuss their plans for 5G.  I do, however, expect to see some new themes this year that will add new dimensions to this yearly event.

Security

Dealing with DDoS Application Threats in Mobile Networks [WEBINAR]

February 2, 2015 — by Mike O'Malley1

The publicity given to devastating cyber-attacks on companies like Sony Pictures leads some mobile operators to believe that the uniqueness of the mobile network, service and device environment means they are nowhere near as vulnerable to DDoS and Advanced Persistent Threats (APT).  However as mobile networks now become flatter, open and all-IP, the security threats that are commonplace in wireline are now building in wireless.   

WPO

There are more mobile-optimized sites than ever. So why are mobile pages getting bigger?

May 28, 2014 — by Tammy Everts4

My recent post about page growth (or page shrinkage, as the case may be) hit a nerve with a lot of people, so this week I thought I'd take my first dive into the Mobile HTTP Archive, the mobile counterpoint to the HTTP Archive I cited last week. The Mobile HTTP Archive tests the same list of URLs, but it does so using smartphones. This means that if a URL redirects to a mobile site, the Archive tests the mobile site. Just like last week, I looked at the top 1,000 URLs. What I found won't come as a surprise to anyone who's been following this blog for a while. While there are many similarities between these findings and last week's, there are also a number of insights that are unique to mobile devices.