Your office phone, the printer, the building control system — these may not sound like computers, but they can all be hacked, according to cybersecurity pros. According to a CNBC News article:
“This is probably the most important cybersecurity threat that we have today because these computers control every single aspect of our critical infrastructure that we depend on every single day,” said Ang Cui, the CEO of Red Balloon, a New York City based cybersecurity company that specializes in keeping devices safe.
These devices contain what are known as embedded computers — microprocessors that use software to execute simple commands.
“An embedded computer is pretty much everything that is not a laptop, server, or a desktop,” Cui said.
Embedded computers are found in smart home devices, medical gear, cars, financial exchanges, power plants and more.
Companies have been compromised by embedded computers. Target’s 2013 data breach occurred after malware was installed on its point of sale system, which incorporates embedded devices. Since the breach, Target says it has taken actions including developing of point-of-sale management tools and decommissioning vendor access to the server impacted in the breach.
”[The breach] certainly cost Target a great deal of money and a great deal of headache,” Cui said. “They’re by no means the only company that had to recover from some event like this.”
The embedded device market is not slowing down. It is projected to be worth more than $214 billion by 2020, according to Radiant Insights, a market research company.