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Jun 19, 2017

Industry insights,

How safe is the internet of things?

As it feels like the pace of modern day living increases, so too does the demand on the technology that’s available to make our lives easier. Whether it’s the additional home security cameras, or the wireless digital thermostat, internet-enabled household devices, or what are commonly referred to as the Internet of Things, are growing at a rapid rate, and the adoption by consumers is vast.

What’s the risk?

One of the growing concerns with internet connected devices comes down to their individual online security. The risks these devices pose are very real, not because of an advanced threat level, but mainly due to the fact that consumers are blissfully unaware of how exposed and vulnerable they are to being hacked. However, just like your home computer, if it’s connected to the internet, it can be hacked and security should be a consideration.

A common trend with internet connected devices is to install and use like any standard electrical device, and it’s this lack of general awareness that’s leaving tech savvy consumers exposed to cybercrime. In a recent BBC Two, Horizon documentary: ‘The Day the NHS Stopped’, the security, or lack of it, of various internet enabled devices were put to the test. They showcased just how easy it could be to hack into your home wireless network with something as unassuming as a wireless kettle. You’d think the kettle is secure just because it isn’t actually using a digital or data driven interface. However, with the kettle using a fairly unsecure default password, the hacker can easily connect to the kettle, and send a command to receive the wireless network encryption key. With this information, the hacker could then access everything that you are looking at on your home PC: Internet banking, passwords and all other sensitive information.

How to remain secure?

The Internet of Things is now a competitive marketplace. Ahead of making a new purchase, ensure that you do your research and read the reviews available to you. Researching the device’s additional security measures is a must. At the very least, make sure that the device is password protected, and when you are configuring the device, ensure that you install it in line with manufacturing guidelines and change the default password to something secure.

Otherwise, your cameras, your fridge or your thermostat could be considered an open door, that any would-be hacker could use to access all your private and confidential information, an easily avoidable ‘high price to pay’ for embracing the modern day lifestyle.