New versions of computers, tablets, smart watches, game consoles, DVD players, wireless speakers, and more technologically advanced hardware comes out each year. New features, increased compute power, and efficiency are touted by manufactures and creators, however, the true power lies in outdated and less efficient technology. Here’s why.
New technology continues to make society’s daily routine easier. Automation, home assistants, online shopping, faster and more efficient mobile technology, and even more continues to become smarter and faster. However, it’s the more out dated and ancient pieces of hardware that are laying around your house that hold the true power, but not for you. For hackers.
New and relatively current hardware and software is continuously supported by its creators and manufacturers. Operating systems are updated with security patches to prevent against any potential leaks and/or backdoors for hackers to access. Hardware is built with the latest chips and circuits with defenses of their own. As hardware and software companies work closer and closer together, it is harder for hackers to expose any weaknesses when the two are working in tandem.
Testing, monitoring, and updating products, software in particular, is a never-ending process. Hackers are motivated and particularly creative in finding holes in hardware and/or software that devices use. After a certain date, large companies typically end their support for old hardware and software. This is where hackers use their creativity. Many everyday people keep these old devices and software around, fail to update them, and keep them connected to their Wi-Fi network at home and maybe even at work. Hackers then work to find vulnerabilities in these older devices that are connected to networks around the world to infect other machines.
Now, you are probably thinking, who would be dumb enough to use these old devices? Actually, the U.S. Government still has its nuclear program running on a single system, using floppy disks, to prevent any potential hacks. Older folks, in particular, like to use machines that they are familiar with, and most times those machines are outdated and use old security standards. With outdated physical and digital security standards, hackers can use these machines to attack large infrastructures. Most times, hackers will pose as scam callers, trick victims into thinking they need access to their machine to update them, and then infect their machine. These small-scale attacks work to collect data on the success of their work. This leads to large scale attacks that start on outdated hardware and/or software to cause a panic, like the recent Wannacry and Petya attacks over the last few weeks.
Recent attacks have started calls for large tech firms and corporations to support all of their products with security updates, forever. The idea that these corporations would do this is a distant idea. Doing this would cost money, and ultimately a business is a business. However, there needs to be stronger regulations on older technology if the world is going to take these major cyber-attacks seriously.