There is no shortage of stories in the media about the rise of cyber crime and the need for growing vigilance. As is the case with so many aspects of criminal activity, it is a constant battle to keep one step ahead of the criminals, and every defence we raise is only effective for a limited time.
So the news that cyber criminals managed to hack into a casino might come as no surprise. But this particular infiltration was a little out of the ordinary.
A fishy tale
First, the data was not related to one of the many online casinos that are becoming ever more popular among gamblers. In fact, purely online sites such as www.bestcasino.co.uk have far better online protection than bricks and mortar ones, because they have the expertise and the infrastructure – put simply, it is what they do for a living.
The incident in question, however, took place at a popular casino in North America, a country where, with the exception of a couple of states, online casinos are prohibited. The casino features a fish tank and the fish tank has sensors that are linked to a PC, where temperature and water quality can be monitored.
Hackers gained access to the fish tank, and from there got into the rest of the casino network, where 10GB of data was harvested and sent out to an unknown destination somewhere in Finland.
The exact nature of the data stolen, along with the name of the casino have not been made public.
The Casino Fish Incident is one of nine innovative hacks reported by cyber security firm, While it is good for a smile, and presents headline writers with ample punning potential, it raises some important questions regarding security and the Internet of Things (IOT).
As we live in a world that is ever more interconnected, the subject of cybersecurity is no longer as simple as keeping our passwords secure and our firewalls up to date. These days, hackers need only look for the weakest access point, in order to get inside a complete system, and those weaknesses can come from the most unusual directions.
There can sometimes be unexpected consequences. Only a month ago, 500 Australian drivers had their speeding tickets set aside when the Wannacry virus infected 55 traffic cameras in Melbourne. The source? An engineer inadvertently introduced it to a camera via a USB stick during routine maintenance, whereupon it spread like wildfire.
And prior to that, we had the famous Wikileaks report that suggested the CIA could activate software in your smart TV to monitor conversations in the home. The story sounded like something straight out of the National Enquirer but was actually covered by reputable sources including Forbes.
Staying one step ahead
The increased profile of these sorts of incidents has led some to question the value of the IoT, but this is like saying we should outlaw cars to prevent road accidents. The technology is already here, and is going nowhere. The key is to understand system vulnerabilities and to stay one step ahead of the criminals – just like it has always been.