You may have heard the term “Internet of Things” used a lot recently, but what exactly does it mean, and what do you need to know from a cyber-security perspective?
The Internet of Things is made up of smart devices that can connect to each other and the Internet. These devices range from thermostats that can be adjusted from your smart phone to pedometers that automatically post your walking statistics online. After initial setup, most of these devices are designed to automatically send and receive information from the Internet on a constant basis.
These technologies (smart devices) are becoming quite popular because of their convenience and, in some cases, their potential to save you money. Unfortunately, cyber criminals have also started turning their attention to these ‘smart’ devices. In December 2013, a cyber-attack was discovered that involved more than 750,000 malicious email communications being sent by more than 100,000 everyday consumer gadgets, including at least one incident in which a refrigerator was allegedly used to launch cyber-attacks.
•Consider changing your Wi-Fi network default name when setting up your home Wi-Fi network. Don’t use anything that could be associated with your name, address, or phone number.
•Ensure that every device on your network, including your router, is kept up-to-date to keep your entire network protected.
•Be careful what kind of information your smart devices are storing and sending, and how secure it is. Some of these – such as what time you and your family usually leave the house in the morning, health history, and financial information – could be valuable to cyber criminals and should be kept safe. Ultimately, information being transmitted over Wi-Fi is vulnerable to being stolen.
Being cyber savvy will allow you to enjoy the new world of connected devices while helping you stay safe online.