The more "connected" your home is, some say the more vulnerable you are to being a victim of theft or worse.
Unfortunately, connected devices collect lots of personal information about you. Lots. This data gets uploaded to company servers where it's sold-or stolen.
I'm not saying go back to living primitively, but you may want to rethink your plan of connecting your milk to get spoilage alerts. At a minimum, without proper precautions, you should know that:
- A cyberthief could hack into your home video surveillance system and spy on you or your children.
- Your child's talking toy can reveal his name and address to a hacker.
- The hacker can make your life a nightmare (details coming).
But don't panic. First understand that the Internet of Things (IoT) devices have various codes, passwords and security features to make your devices secure. Understand that adding to much security would compromise the manufacturers' ability to create a very appealing product. So it's up to you to look into it all and decide what's secure and what's not.
Once hackers get in, they have the world at their feet, from spying on your childs baby monitor to taking control of your computer network to gaining access to your bank account to opening credit lines in your name and maxing them out.
How are these vulnerabilities possible?
- Unencrypted storage of passwords
- Default passwords of devices not being changed
- Default passwords of devices hard-coded for non-changeability
- Unprotected USB ports
- Standard security software is useless with IoT devices, like that fitness tracker, garage door opener and thermostat.
- You can't install security software on these IoT devices; they lack the memory space to contain it.
Some say that these warnings are overblown, but 20 years ago, the idea of 40 million credit card numbers getting into the hands of a few thieves was unheard of too, yet today, massive data breaches like that are commonplace. If a hack can be conceived, it can be done. It's just a matter of WHEN. Besides, hacks into home connected devices have already occurred.
- Add your IoT devices to your router's guest wireless network.
- Make sure all your passwords are unique and strong, a mix of characters, no actual words or names.
- Be judicious about acquiring additional connected devices. Do you really need the Internet of Things telling you when you're running low on eggs?
- Keep all the devices software and firmware updated.
- Register your products with the manufacturer. Pay attention to any manufacturers recall or updates.