7 devices that make your data vulnerable

There’s a new threat landscape to consider: the Internet of Things (IoT). And the endpoints in this landscape are vulnerable to attack.

deadly devices primary

Deadly IoT devices

First popularized in the late 1990s, the idea of connecting home appliances to the Internet to facilitate grocery shopping was seen as the next big thing. As the Internet and wireless technology caught up to the idea and gained mainstream acceptance, consumers started adopting IoT technologies for everything from fitness to writing implements. While there are many threat vectors in today’s IoT landscape, we decided to look at seven deadly “devices” that could someday cost a company millions in data loss.

deadly devices 1

Vending machines

The same vending machine that uses sensors to display your preferred beverage as you approach it or to notify the vending machine company that it’s time to restock is also an open door for data loss. But the machine’s manufacturers may not have designed it with data security in mind – so these machines could be transmitting a lot more than your employees’ snacking habits.

deadly devices 2


The carefully-regulated climate in your office can conceal the fact that to criminals your data is hot. Remotely programmable thermostats are just as vulnerable to attack as anything else, particularly if you’re using a third-party contractor to manage the office HVAC system (a la Target’s breach). But even if it’s a company-managed remote thermostat, it’s probably not smart to leave the temperature-setting to just anyone, especially a hacker.

deadly devices 3

Smart locks

While the building may be locked tighter than a drum, thanks to remote security systems and automated locks, your data could still be exposed. Anything using Wi-Fi can be hacked, and if someone is using a mobile app to monitor and control the locks you may as well leave the key on top of the mat instead of underneath it.

deadly devices 4

Smart pens

The employee diligently taking notes in the next staff meeting could also be writing a dark chapter in the company’s security history. While smart pens that can track and translate users’ writing are advancing, they’re mostly doing so on the Android platform, which has shocking vulnerabilities that can leave 75 percent of devices open to attack.

deadly devices 5

Watches and fitness monitors

Take a look at your co-workers’ wrists, and it’s likely that one of them is wearing a smart watch or a fitness monitor, like a FitBit or Garmin VivoFit. And while your co-workers are being reminded to walk around the office to stay in shape, the devices themselves – particularly if they’re syncing to the Internet via a device on your network or even using your company’s Wi-Fi – are making your security strategy flabby.

deadly devices 6


Hackers could be literally driving away with your company’s data. If your co-workers are driving 2014 Jeep Cherokees, 2015 Cadillac Escalades or 2014 Toyota Priuses ( the three most hackable autos), as soon as they connect to the Bluetooth to make a call with the same smartphones they use to access company networks, hackers have a green light to attack.

deadly devices 7


It’s a great idea in theory: a single box that controls all the Wi-Fi-enabled devices in a home (or office) and can be accessed through a smartphone app. But while the concept is cool, until the technology matures this box could be Pandora’s Box – innocent on its face, but a hackers dream.

Connie Stack is CMO of Digital Guardian.