Security Firm: First Online Murder Will Happen By End Of Year

Hackers may exploit vulnerabilities in Web-enabled smart homes, health devices

• October 7, 2014 11:15 am


The threat of "online murder" is on the rise as cyber criminals target victims using new Internet technology, according to an assessment by European policing agency Europol.

The firm said it expects a rise in "injury and possible deaths" caused by computer attacks on safety equipment–and governments are ill-prepared to deal with it.

The Independent reported:

Police forensic techniques need to "adapt and grow" to address the dangers posed by the so-called "Internet of Everything" – a new era of technological interconnectedness in which everything from garage doors to hospital health systems will be linked and controlled through computer networks.

The concept is behind the likely development of smart homes, cars and even cities, but police warned that the failure to protect devices properly could see them open to being hacked by outsiders to make money or to attack opponents.

The Europol threat assessment published last week cited a report by US security firm IID that predicted the first murder via "hacked internet-connected device" by the end of 2014. There have been no proven cases of murder by tampering with devices but hackers have highlighted numerous flaws in computer security systems.

In a series of high-profile stunts, Barnaby Jack hacked into cash machines to make them spew money, and exploited a flaw in an insulin pump. He died last year just before he was about to demonstrate how pacemakers could be hacked.

The report also underscored the risk of using new forms of blackmail and extortion, using connected devices–like smart cars and homes–to lock owners out and demand ransom.

"There's already this huge quasi-underground market where you can buy and sell vulnerabilities that have been discovered," said Rod Rasmussen, the president of IID. He said that while the first reported murder was yet to happen, "death by Internet" was already a reality from online extortion and blackmail that has led to suicide. He said if his firm's prediction of an online murder did not come to pass in 2014, it would likely happen within the next few years.



Published under: Cyber Security, Murder