The CIA Fears the Internet of Things

The logo of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is shown in the lobby of the CIA headquarters

The major themes defining geo-security for the coming decades were explored at a forum on “The Future of Warfare” at the Aspen Security Forum on Thursday, moderated by Defense One Executive Editor Kevin Baron.

Dawn Meyerriecks, the deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency’s directorate of science and technology, said today’s concerns about cyber war don’t address the looming geo-security threats posed by the Internet of Things, the embedding of computers, sensors, and Internet capabilities into more and more physical objects.

“Smart refrigerators have been used in distributed denial of service attacks,” she said. At least one smart fridge played a role in a massive spam attack last year, involving more than 100,000 internet-connected devices and more than 750,000 spam emails. She also mentioned “smart fluorescent LEDs [that are] are communicating that they need to be replaced but are also being hijacked for other things.”

“The merger of physical and virtual is really where it’s at. If we don’t grok that then we’ve got huge problems,” she said. Grok, a reference to Robert A. Heinlein’s 1961 novel Stranger in a Strange Land, describes the telepathic communion of thoughts, feelings, and fears.

Smart clothing, she said, could create security and access problems, specifically for the CIA. The same technologies that could allow millions to better monitor and manage their health could create a transparency and workplace problems that “I don’t want to have to deal with.”

It has a sort of science-fictional flare, but Meyerriecks says there’s no excuse for being caught off-guard by technological events, or..

Read more: http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2014/07/cia-fears-internet-things/89660/