Daily Management Review

Tech Firms Displays how to Hack a Sex Toy but Warns Public on Growing Cyber Risks


Tech Firms Displays how to Hack a Sex Toy but Warns Public on Growing Cyber Risks
As more devices are hooked up to the Internet, it could be anything from medical equipment to industrial machinery - and even sex toys that would be vulnerable to cyber attack and not only just computers and mobile phones, says software firm Trend Micro.
Trend Micro spokesman Udo Schneider placed a large, neon-pink vibrator on the desk in front of him and then bringing it to life by typing out a few lines of code on his laptop. This, at a news conference surprised journalists this week.
The message was sobering even as the stunt provoked sheepish giggles. Concern is mounting about insufficient safeguards and a lack of consumer and employee awareness as the number of smart, interactive devices connected to the Internet explodes.
"If I hack a vibrator it's just fun," Raimund Genes, Chief Technology Officer at Tokyo-listed Trend Micro said at the CeBIT technology fair in Hanover.
Referring to the programming system behind a device's interface he added: "But if I can get to the back-end, I can blackmail the manufacturer."
According to the German government's latest IT Security Report, the country offers rich pickings for hackers, and attacks on industrial production sites are rising since it is the host of CeBIT and home to world champion manufacturers.
Following a cyber attack on the plant's network in 2014, a German steel mill suffered "massive damage". Ransomware, a virus that encrypts data on infected machines and demands that users pay to get an electronic key to unlock it attacked several German hospitals in recent weeks.

The lower house of Germany’s parliament's computer network was attached by hackers forcing it to shut down the system for several days and compromising large amounts of data. This was a wake up call for German government.
"If someone decided to start shooting with a pistol from the roof of the Reichstag (parliament), security guards would be all over them. But when data are siphoned off for months, no one bats an eyelid. There is a lack of awareness," said Dirk Arendt, director of public affairs at Israeli cyber security firm Check Point Software Technologies.
A new IT security law passed in Germany last July compels 2,000 providers of critical infrastructure to implement minimum security standards and report serious breaches or face penalties as the government responded to the growing cyber threat.
According to IT lobby group Bitkom, fifty-one percent of companies have been victims of digital espionage, data theft or sabotage in the past two years.
Mittelstand, which us defined as Germany's small-to-medium-sized manufacturers, had two-thirds of the firms registering attacks and is identified as the most vulnerable section.
According to Deutsche Telekom's Cyber Security Report 84 percent of managers expect the risks to rise as companies move to connect machinery to the Internet to enable it to collect and exchange data and make it easier to control remotely.
Arendt said more attention needed to be paid to data security even as Germans are vigilant about data protection because of their experience of state surveillance by the Stasi secret police in East Germany and the Gestapo under the Nazis.