Your Credit Card Number Was Hacked by a Refrigerator

By 2020, estimates go as high as 75 billion connected devices across the world. With tens of new billions of devices connected in the coming decade, one of the biggest concerns is security.

Jun 7, 2014 at 8:00AM

In the following video, Motley Fool analyst Eric Bleeker talks with Cisco's (NASDAQ:CSCO) Chris White, who is a general manager of Internet of Things sales at the company. 

While the Internet of Things has potential to be a technology shift of unparalleled size, one of the major concerns is around security. If all devices are connected via an Internet connection, home appliances or even HVAC systems could be remotely controlled. In January of this year, hackers used a refrigerator as part of a large-scale cyberattack, which made headlines across the world. If security concerns lead to fewer connected factories, hospitals, and homes, it'd blunt Cisco's revenue growth in coming years. 

Chris describes the challenges around security in a world where tens of new billions of devices will be connected in the coming decade.  

A transcript follows the video. 

Are you ready for this $14.4 trillion revolution?
Have you ever dreamed of traveling back in time and telling your younger self to invest in Apple? Or to load up on Amazon.com at its IPO, and then just keep holding? We haven't mastered time travel, but there is a way to get out ahead of the next big thing. The secret is to find a small-cap "pure play" and then watch as the industry -- and your company -- enjoy those same explosive returns. Our team of equity analysts has identified one stock that's ready for stunning profits with the growth of a $14.4 trillion industry. You can't travel back in time, but you can set up your future. Click here for the whole story in our eye-opening report.

Eric Bleeker: You just talked about this. Maybe to get a little bit more granular on it -- security is always interesting to me. There was a recent attack where someone had taken over, I think it was like 700,000 devices, and as part of a malevolent attack they used a refrigerator, and it made headlines everywhere.

But you look at it -- that's a very connected consumer angle. A lot of these industries you're going to have previous systems that weren't even connected to the Internet to begin with. I think a lot of people don't think about that kind of angle on it, especially with industrial Internet.

Could you talk about some of the security opportunity? How big do you think this could be in the next five years, when you're entering these whole new verticals?

Chris White: You know what, Eric? I think the most sobering one is the Target attack. Target's point-of-sale credit card system got breached because of an HVAC connection -- to your exact point. An air conditioning unit with an Internet connection that IT probably never even knew about, was where some creative hacker managed to penetrate Target's infrastructure.

I think the good news is we're talking about it. I think the reality check is, we haven't quantified it, so a lot of the security IT industry is very busy securing the IT world, and I don't think they've really even woken up to how massive the opportunity is to secure the OT side of the world.

I think it's going to be a booming market here in the very medium to short-term, because we're already seeing the IP demand in the OT side of the world being 15 times that of the IT world.

As an example, a very large manufacturing company, North American-based, has 15 major factory plants around the world. They have between 50 and 60 thousand unmanaged, unsecure ports of connectivity in every single one of those plants. You think about the security exposure and security opportunity, let alone the manufacturing benefits they can do to get into that market and help transform that infrastructure.

I think we're scratching the surface on this security conversation at the moment.

Bleeker: That's helpful. Thanks.

Eric Bleeker, CFA, owns shares of Cisco Systems. The Motley Fool recommends Cisco Systems. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of fool.com.

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to www.fool.com/beginners, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at www.fool.com/podcasts.

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.


Compare Brokers