Internet of Things
IoT - Internet of things. What does that really mean?
The Internet of things (IoT) is the network of devices, vehicles, and home appliances that contain electronics, software, actuators, and connectivity which allows these things to connect, interact and exchange data.
IoT involves extending Internet connectivity beyond standard devices, such as desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets, to any range of traditionally dumb or non-internet-enabled physical devices and everyday objects. Embedded with technology, these devices can communicate and interact over the Internet, and they can be remotely monitored and controlled.
Do you have a smart home?
- Do you have a Nest device? If you have an thermostat you can set with your smartphone, you might have a smart home.
- Do you have a Ring doorbell? If you can see and speak to visitors via your smartphone, your might have a smart home.
- Do you have Hue lights? If you can ask Alexa to turn off the lights, you might have a smart home.
These are all examples of the IoT - the internet of things. And if it's connected to the internet, there is a risk of being hacked or information stolen. The more you add these functionalities to your smart phone, the greater the risk of that data getting into the wrong hands. As with other security best practices, the same applies to IoT.
Here are some recommendations from Norton. My strongest recommendation? CHANGE THE DEFAULT PASSWORDS ON ALL DEVICES.
IoT technologies pose potential dangers to your internet safety. News reports have ranged from an IoT botnet taking down portions of the Internet to hackers exploiting baby monitors.
That’s why it’s a good idea to protect your digital life by securing your IoT-connected devices. Here are some ways to do that.
- Install reputable internet security software on your computers, tablets, and smartphones.
- Use strong and unique passwords for device accounts, Wi-Fi networks, and connected devices. Don’t use common words or passwords that are easy to guess, such as “password” or “123456.”
- Do your research before you buy. Devices become smart because they collect a lot of personal data. While collecting data isn’t necessarily a bad thing, you should know about what types of data these devices collect, how it’s stored and protected, if it is shared with third parties, and the policies or protections regarding data breaches.
- Know what data the device or app wants to access on your phone. If it seems unnecessary for the app’s functionality or too risky, deny permission.
- Check the device manufacturer’s website regularly for firmware updates.
- Use caution when using social sharing with these apps. Social sharing features can give away things like your location and let people know when you’re not at home. Cybercriminals can use this to track your movements. That could lead to a potential cyberstalking issue or other real-world dangers.
- Never leave your smartphone unattended if you’re using it in a public space. In crowded spaces, you should also consider turning off Wi-Fi or Bluetooth access if you don’t need them. Some smartphone brands allow automatic sharing with other users in close proximity.
Another device we may not always consider is a smartwatch - something with your account info, easy to misplace, easy to steal. Protect your "wearable" by ensuring it is up to date, "watch" what apps you install (and their permissions), and enable theft settings.