The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects or “things” embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity, which enables these objects to collect and exchange data via the internet.
Cars, appliances, thermostats, door locks, smoke alarms, wearables, lighting, healthcare, and home security all contain sensing devices that we can control with our smartphones from anywhere, and they can talk to other machines and trigger other actions. Like an electric kettle that is controlled from a phone app; it sends the owner a welcome-home message and switches itself on when you come through the door. Or devices that direct your car to an open spot in a parking lot. And a smart refrigerator that can determine what it contains and may decide to adjust its temperature accordingly, without you.
Without a doubt, the Internet of Things makes our lives easier and has many benefits. But it requires that we share more information than ever, and the security of this information, and the security of these devices, is not always guaranteed.
IoT devices are computers and, like all computers, they include hardware, an operating system, other software on the device, and involves a network to communicate with other devices over the internet. These smart devices are sending and receiving data all the time through the internet. Hackers know this and want to get to your information.
This leaves them vulnerable, so you need to secure them and keep them updated just like you do with your desktop or laptop computers. Hackers are always looking to compromise devices and steal data, and if just one of your devices gets compromised, they all could be.
So, if you’re looking to purchase more smart devices here are some things to remember.
Understand How You Keep IoT Devices Up To Date — including any software updates that might be needed and strong passwords or other ways of securing devices.
Change The Default Password – do this for all your devices before you use them to stop hackers from using it to get into your devices.
Keep Your Mobile Phone And Apps Up To Date — Many IoT devices are controlled via smartphones or tablets. Keeping your phone and associated apps up to date is an important security step.
Pay Attention To The Wifi Router In Your Home — it is the main way home IoT devices connect to the Internet. Use a strong password to protect your router, and name the device in a way that won’t let people know it’s your house (don’t use your address or your family name). Keep router software up to date by checking with the manufacturer or with your Internet service provider (ISP) to see if the software is updated automatically.
Understand What’s Being Collected — The functionality of most IoT devices requires collecting data. Take the time to understand what information your connected devices collect, and how that information is managed and used by reading the Privacy Terms and conditions before you connect your new devices.
Where Does Your Data Go — Many IoT devices will send information to be stored in the cloud. Understand where your data will reside and the security protecting your personal information.
Do Your Research — Before adopting a new smart device, research it to make sure others have had positive experiences with the device from a security and privacy perspective.
And finally – Get to know your new device – Read The Manual! And adjust the Privacy Settings of the device before you use it to keep you, and your ‘Internet of Things’, safe and secured.