Things in IoT You Need to Know This Week: October 24 to 28

By now, anyone who spends any time on the internet knows that this week’s big story was the DDoS attack that disrupted a huge chunk of the internet on Friday. In this week’s round-up more details about the attack that took away your Twitter (and who to blame), plus autonomous drones and a driverless beer delivery.

No Netflix, No Chill

In the largest scale IoT related cyber-attack to date, as-yet-unidentified hackers took control of unprotected devices to launch a DDoS attack on Internet infrastructure provider Dyn late last week. Netflix, Facebook, and Twitter were among the sites temporarily disabled. While service was restored for most users by Friday afternoon, the suddenness and scale of the attack again raised fears about the insecurity of the IoT, as well as provider and government ability to handle future attacks. 

50,000 Cans of Beer on the (Self-Driving) Truck

This week, Uber’s self-driving truck made its first delivery of, wait for it…50,000 cans of Budweiser. The result of Uber’s partnership with California-based start-up Otto, the truck traveled over 120 miles of Colorado Highway from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs. For now, a driver is still along for the ride. The tech isn’t yet sophisticated enough to handle obstacles like pedestrians, cyclists, and stop signs. But in the coming years, Otto expects to develop the software to account for a greater range of driving conditions. 

Department of Defense Faces Autonomous Weapon Dilemma

At this point, the U.S. military’s use of drones is basically a forgone conclusion. But according to the New York Times, Pentagon officials are now grappling with a ‘terminator conundrum’ in deciding how much autonomy to give the new weapons they develop and some fears that autonomous weapons are already becoming the next arms race. Currently, military drones are controlled remotely by humans, but a recent $18 billion investment seeks to develop new autonomous capabilities.

Placing Blame for IoT Security Failures

Things could get litigious as consumers and business deal with the fallout from last week’s massive DDoS attack that brought major Internet hubs grinding to a halt (see above). Per Fortune, security experts are beginning to focus on the culpability of companies that produced the hacked devices, while device makers shift blame to a non-security conscious customer base. In any case, it seems increasingly likely that web-based companies who lost revenue as the result of the attacks may investigate avenues for legal recourse.

Microsoft Releases New Program to Help Secure IoT

In the wake of the recent onslaught of attacks demonstrating the security challenges facing the IoT, Microsoft has announced a new Azure-based security-auditing program to help customers assess and streamline the security of their devices. 

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