If you think that hacking is confined to attacking your PC – think again. The high-profile attack on Iran’s centrifuges showed that malware can effect real world devices but what about more mundane devices.
Could they effect your phone – yep – have you even considered that a pacemaker could be hacked?
What about the brake controller of your top of the range car?
Truth is that many of today’s consumer items have microprocessors that can be infected by malware.
Fortunately the expertise required to perform this sort of hack isn’t widespread – but it does exist.
Check out the excellent TED video by Avi Rubin for a worrying list of practical compromises that have already been achieved by security researchers. These are all possible because these devices are fitted with wireless access that lacks sufficient security .
As computer security is becoming a basic requirement of 21st century living it’s vital that we equip our children with the skills required to live in the world that we are creating for them. Hopefully if we teach security principles to the next generation of designers we can avoid a world where getting a computer virus could be a life changing event.