Weekly IP Buzz for week ending in August 24, 2018
Here's a summary of interesting developments in intellectual property, technology, social media, and Internet law for the week ending August 24, 2018.
Cybersecurity Concerns Rise Again With Vulnerable Smart Devices
As a year has passed since lawmakers first discussed the passage of sweeping litigation that would raise data-security standards across the nation, security experts have lamented the lack of recent movement and action on actually passing any relevant laws. Meanwhile, the use of vulnerable smart devices as a routine part of daily life continues to grow.
As the Internet of Things “IoT” becomes more pervasive and expands its access to more and more household devices such as thermostats, pacemakers, and shower heads, the software that these devices use to access the Internet still remains woefully inadequate in terms of data encryption and consumer privacy.
Vulnerable Smart Devices Exposed With Mirai Botnet Attack
In 2016, the Mirai botnet attack exposed just how vulnerable smart devices, gadgets that have become increasingly embedded into our daily lives, are to malicious attacks by hackers. The Mirai botnet attack was able to take down major platforms such as Twitter, PayPal, and Spotify, leaving the services inaccessible to users all around the world. The botnet attack used a large number of devices to launch a coordinated distributed denial of service “DDos” attack, and security experts noted that the source of many the attacks came from compromised, but otherwise innocuous devices, such as baby monitors, thermostats, and webcams that were connected to the Internet. The Mirai attack was so widespread that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security began an investigation, and security experts have long warned that similar attacks are to be expected. Read more about vulnerable smart devices.
DEF CON Hackers Prove Ease in Hacking Voter Machines and Government Sites
DEF CON held earlier this month in Las Vegas draws one of the largest crowds of hackers and cyber security interested parties. It is a hacker convention providing the most recent information and developments in hacking, while also allowing DEF CON hackers to show their skills in varied contests and games.
DEF CON Hackers Get Access to Voting Machine and SOS Website Replicas
This year, voter machines and government website replicas were a top interest to election officials concerned with election integrity. With the upcoming November midterm elections, such apprehension is in the air. The reliability of data and tampering of votes seems to always creep up as a topic of contention during elections. However, seeing hackers easily access and manipulate data at DEF CON adds merit to the concerns.
For instance, DEF CON hackers broke into voting machines as well as Secretary of State replica websites with election results. Although several people were able to hack these machines and/or sites, a couple hackers stood out. One 11 year old boy was able to hack a website in just under ten minutes. Another hacker turned a voting machine into a jukebox. While seemingly fun and games, DEF CON hackers help to shed light on vulnerabilities. The information gained can help officials identify ways to improve election systems and processes. Read more about DEF CON.
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Darin M. Klemchuk is founder of Klemchuk LLP, a litigation, intellectual property, and transactional law firm located in Dallas, Texas. He also co-founded Project K, a charitable movement devoted to changing the world one random act of kindness at a time, and publishes Thriving Attorney, a blog dedicated to exploring the business of the practice of law, productivity and performance for attorneys, and other topics such as law firm leadership and management, law firm culture, and business development for attorneys.
Click to learn more about Darin M. Klemchuk's law practice as an intellectual property lawyer.