Could updating your Twitter through your refrigerator leave you vulnerable to hacks? Yes, it very well could. The Internet of Things (IoT) is an ocean of internet-connected devices that are often protected by nothing more than factory-set passwords that can be utilized to overwhelm a server. Your identity, cash, and device power could all be at risk with your IoT device. This doesn’t mean that you have to give up your high-tech devices; it just means that you may have to be more careful.
What is IoT?
The Internet of Things covers everything from the washer machine that you had to connect to the Wi-Fi, to the lights you control with your phone, and possibly even your car. You may be familiar with the term “smart home”, which is a house comprised of a variety of appliances connected together via the IoT.
Technology moves forward. It can be easy to avoid having your credit card stolen online if you stop using the internet, but it is not worth it. The internet is awesome, and having your house connected to it is great. Lights on, but already in bed?, No problem! Turn it off with your phone. No more checking the thermostat on the other side of the house, no more creepy basement stairs with light switches at the bottom, and no more wishing and wanting your fridge to interact with you on Twitter. Just protect your device while setting it up.
How Can You Protect It?
Don’t Keep a Default Password
You could start very basic, and change the password on your device. Changing the default password to something a little more difficult will stop people from just logging into your device because they know the password on every device. Plus, with an unsecure device, you could get hit with BrickerBot, a type of malware which does exactly what it sounds like: it turns your beautiful, convenient device into a brick.
What Information Does the Tech Take?
Keep the software updated and ask the manufacturer what sort of data they collect and how they are using that information. Knowing what information is being collected and how it’s being used is important if you want to create digital invitations with a map to your house, but also keep them out of hacker hands. It’s a hassle, but check the terms and conditions to see if it’s collecting voice recordings, taking pictures of you exclusively while you are in the nude, or just sending location/financial/purchase information to some lock box in the cloud. Are you okay with companies having that sort of information? If you are, check how they are securing it.
Amazon has your credit card information and is fed by everything from third-party websites, cookies, to the grand master of IoT information collection, Alexa, which connects to Amazon. But Alexa (and Amazon) have fantastic information protection services. Which means your information only goes to Amazon. Other companies may not have the super security of Amazon, but could be collecting data into a giant pool to use for later analysis. Those are the IoT devices to avoid. If your information is not secure when gathered through their device, don’t use it.
It’s really nice to control your lights, heating, and toaster with a swipe on your phone, but it’s not worth your security to play around with an unsecure device. At the very least, bots could use your device for a larger attack, and at the most, you have a bricked device and stolen information. Change the password and read some terms and conditions before adventuring into a connected home.
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